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home : letters : letters June 25, 2016

4/1/2014 12:32:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 04/02/2014

To the Editor:

A year ago an overwhelming 79.8 percent of the voters in the Sisters School District passed the local option tax for our schools. The tax rate was approved at 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value or real market value (whichever is lower). The Sisters community is fortunate to have folks willing to pay an extra tax in order to maintain the quality of our schools.

As the result of Measure 5, a state law passed in 1990, many taxpayers are paying significantly less than the 75-cent tax rate. Some pay the full rate and some don't. Personally, my tax bill for the local option was less than 25 percent of the full rate. There is no logical reason for me to pay 25 percent, when my neighbors are paying the full amount.

So, being a guy who pays his bills, I wrote a check to the Sisters School District for $201.30 - a tax-deductible contribution I might add. I would urge my fellow Sisters Country residents to check their tax bills - the paper copy you got in the mail or on-line at "Deschutes County Assessor DIAL." Multiply the lower of the assessed value or the real market value times 0.00075 and see if that matches the amount of your local option tax. If you've underpaid, please consider contributing the difference to Sisters School District.

Our great schools are facing severe financial challenges. The amount of the underpayment is huge: $380,000. I urge people to pay the amount we collectively agreed to a year ago. Clearly, even if you paid the full 75 cents, you could make a tax-deductible contribution. This won't solve all of our financial problems, but it sure can help. I would urge you to then follow through for the remaining four years of the local option tax.

If you have questions or would like to make a donation, I'll set up an information table at the school board meeting on April 9 at the high school.

Jeff Smith


To the Editor:

When the Crossroads paved trail controversy was being "discussed," I wrote a letter to the editor stating that people in positions of power were overstepping their bounds. Now we have 100-year-old trees cut down by City employees who were directed by someone in power with the City, who did not follow the vision statement Sisters residents/city council worked so hard on a few years back. Why did we even bother to put together a vision statement, a Parks Advisory Board and an Urban Forestry Board if the supervisors of City employees are going to ignore this process?

Where Sisters goes and grows in the future should not be decided by one or two certain groups just because they feel THEY have the power to push their own agenda.

I have been here 20 years, my husband all of his life, and we have never seen such division. This used to be a town that spoke to each other. Live-and-let-live. Not anymore. We have become a town that fights within itself, in part due to the lack of communication between people who believe they have more power than they do, and with our residents.

There is a lot of talent outside city limits and you need to remember Sisters is not just made up of people living within city limits. I personally do not want the outskirts of Sisters to be annexed into the city because I moved outside city limits for my privacy, but I do believe it is time for the "power pool" to be expanded. We pay taxes to Sisters also and need to be part of the decision-making, not just "heard" and then ignored.

I would also like to make one more comment in regards to Gerald Bertagna's letter (The Nugget, March 26, page 2). I appreciate you coming to the defense of Paul Bertagna and City employees, but 100-year-old junipers should not have been cut down. I happen to LOVE junipers, the look and the smell after it rains. They have character. I do not see them as weeds; maybe juniper bushes can be considered weeds, but not the trees. Obviously your opinion of undesirable is different from mine, hence the reason residents should have been asked ... oh, and I believe that 100-years-old can be considered old growth?

Brenda Hartford


To the Editor:

I owe Jack Nagel an apology.

On February 27, at a public city council meeting, Jack stated that trees had been cut in the Creekside Campground. I did not believe this to be true. I thought he was talking about a forthcoming project and that trees had already been cut in regard to that project.

The next day, I went out and looked at the campground. I learned that trees had been cut during a thinning operation earlier in the year (this had nothing to do with the forthcoming project).

I promised Jack and everyone in attendance at that meeting that if I were wrong, I would apologize. I was wrong in believing trees had not been cut. Jack was correct. Jack, I apologize.


Mayor Brad Boyd

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