Tag Archives: library

Second library funding request — 39 cents per $1,000

14 Aug

Heather Staten of the Save Our Library committee reports that the Hood River County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday evening approved asking voters to support a levy of 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The measure, to be placed on the November 2 ballot, would be the second funding proposal to go before Hood River County voters. In May, voters rejected a request for 70 cents per $1,000.

Hood River Mayor Arthur Babitz presented the Board of Commissioners with the report and recommendations of the Save Our Library committee’s 16-member model budget committee.  The lower tax rate is based on a budget model that offers fewer library services,  increased dependence on non-tax revenue including private donations, fees and charges, in-kind contributions from county/city government and grants. Volunteer hours would also help avoid need for additional revenue to pay staff.

Click here to see the full report.

Or go to the Save Our Library committee’s web site.

Library supporters note board filing needs, deadline, and date for first model budget hearing

6 Aug

For those of you following the effort to get voter support for permanent library funding, the Save Our Library committee has shared two key bits of info:

Library Board Candidates

If you or someone you know is interested in running in November for the library board (which would be empanelled if voters support an operating levy), contact Heather Staten.  They’re looking for “caring, civic-minded folks.  Deadline to file with the county is Aug. 24. Committee members can help candidates negotiate the process.

Board of Commissioners Mill Rate Hearing

The Model Budget Committee, a subcommittee of SOL, at 5:15  p.m. Aug. 12 will present several funding scenarios to the BOC, at their Conference Room, 601 State St.  Each scenario will show the level of services and resources that different levy rates would support. This is one of two hearings to help set the mill rate that will be proposed to voters on the November ballot.  The second hearing will be September 2 at 5:15 p.m.)

Library closure gets Oregonian editorial attention … and other news of note

22 Jul

Check the editorializing of the Oregonian about Hood River’s distinction as the only county in Oregon to currently have no operating public library…

P.S. Save Our Library committee meeting, Monday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on Tucker Road. Gary Rains of Rains Marketing will present the results of his poll of Hood River voters. Campaign organization is taking shape. Want to get involved? Contact Heather Staten or at 541-490-5225.

CenterPointe Community Bank reports profit …

The Columbia Gorge Community College board has agreed to ask voters for bonding authority that would let the college capture $8 million in appropriated funding from the state, and begin work on a workforce innovation center in The Dalles and planning for expansion of the Hood River campus…

Note from Amanda Goeke about grand opening celebration Saturday, July 24, at the new Volcanic Bottle Shoppe. “We’ll begin the celebration at 3pm with free food (cookout in the beer garden) and free music by Spruce, and we’ll keep on celebrating until everybody leaves (but at least through 9pm). We have 5 beers on draft, over 125 types of bottled beer, and almost 50 types of wine (and some na stuff like specialty sodas). We’d love to see you there, so I hope you can make it at some point during the day.” The Volcanic Bottle Shoppe is at 1410 12th St. in Hood River, 541.436.1226

County votes to take another run at the library funding hill

13 Jul

By a 5-0 vote, the Hood River County Board of Commissioners on Monday afternoon decided to take another funding proposal to voters in November.

The levy amount — as part of a broader funding package that might include such things as grants, fees and gifts — has yet to be determined. But it will definitely be lower than the 70 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation that voters rejected in a May vote.

Gary Rains, principal of Rains Marketing, told the board that his firm had yet to complete a telephone survey of about 100 voters living in areas that voted against the first funding proposal. Pollers have spoken with about 60 voters.

Results of those conversations showed three discernible trends, Rains said:

  • Strong support for a second ballot proposal, as part of a multi-faceted funding package
  • Support for a levy, inversely proportional to the size of the levy (i.e. stronger support for 30 cents per $1,000 than 50 cents per $1,000)
  • Marginal support for an independent service district, as opposed to a “special district” that would operate under county board guidance.

Rains said the polling showed that many voters were confused about how the first ballot proposal would work. More people had concern about the impact of the proposed 70-cent levy limit (supporters had said the full amount likely would not have been levied to start, but that the amount provided long-term stability). Poll respondents also were clearly supportive of the need for a library.

County Administrator Dave Meriwether had provided the board and public a memo comparing the pluses and minuses of the two types of district:

  1. Special District – Independent, supported by tax levy, has its own board of directors, able to set policies on hiring and benefits independent of the county and its labor agreements, including use of the costly Public Employee Retirement System. The higher the levy, the more likely it would be to function independently. The lower the levy, the more reliance on unpredictable revenue sources.
  2. Service District – has a dedicated tax levy with policy guidance provided by the board of commissioners and administrative support either directly through the county, or through a contracted management firm. Less autonomy, but great ability to compete for additional public support in the event that levy revenues fall short of needs.

Three speakers from the library support group said they favored pursuing an independent district. They offered to work with the county to form a committee that would draft a model funding package.

Debra Phillips, a member of that group, said the group would kick off its support campaign at 6:30 Wednesday, July 14, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1140 Tucker Road.

Kim Kean of the county elections office noted that the November ballot will be full of other measures and candidate races, competing for public attention. Turnout at such elections, however, is typically much greater — 60 percent or higher — than at elections in May, which can range well below 50 percent of the electorate. She noted also that the vote will occur right after the county sends out annual notice of property taxes. She said library supporters will need to make a convincing case in the upper Hood River Valley, where orchardists and other landowners typically vote only to support school measures.

Meriwether was to visit city councils in Hood River and Cascade Locks on Monday evening, seeking their approval to include the cities inside the proposed special district.

As a result of the decision to pursue a special district in November, people interested in running for the board of that district will have until Aug. 24 to file for the ballot. A public hearing on the proposal will be held Aug. 12.

City Council to discuss in-lieu parking rule, next library measure

10 Jul

The next chapter in efforts to generate long-term funding for the now-closed Hood River County Library branches in Hood River, Cascade Locks and Parkdale unfolds Monday before the Hood River City Council.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, July 12, in council chambers at 211 Second St.

County Administrator Dave Meriwether will report on a meeting at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon by the Hood River County Board of Commissioners, to review polling results and decide what sort of library funding structure — special district or service district — they will ask voters to support in November.

To fast-track the process of placing a measure on the November ballot, Meriwether the same day will visit both the Hood River and Cascade Locks city councils to ask their permission to include the cities in whatever sort of tax-supported district goes to the ballot. The county board meets at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to take formal action on the ballot proposal.

Another casualty of the county’s belt-tightening was its Economic Development Office. Created in 2002, the office had been staffed until June 30 by Bill Fashing. Fashing has since taken a position as community development officer with the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, serving both Wasco and Hood River counties.

Greg Colt, a commercial realtor in Hood River, will ask the council to consider partnering with other government entities in the Gorge to revive the economic development office for the county. Those partners might include the county, cities of Hood River and Cascade Locks, and the ports of Hood River and Cascade Locks.

The last headline item on the agenda involves the much-cussed “in lieu” parking ordinance. The city requires developers to provide one off-street parking space for each anticipated employee, plus parking for anticipated customers, on or near their property. The city, however, exempted commercial and industrial building owners downtown, in the Heights and at the Port.

Insteady, the city in its 2006 ordinance required developers to pay the city an “in lieu” fee so the city could develop adequate parking. The fee amount could float, depending on market conditions. Building owners were required to cover the cost of 1.2 parking stalls per 1,000 square feet of development, multiplied by the fee amount at the time a project was started.

The costs created a barrier to development downtown. Bob Carnahan, owner of the Waucoma Building at 2nd and Cascade, and Pasquale Barone, former owner of the Hood River Hotel and current owner of the Union Building on Industrial Street, have delayed conversion plans for their buildings because, as they have testified publicly, the “in lieu” fees would have added prohibitive additional costs to their projects.

As the council agenda notes, “The City Council decided there is a need to reduce the amount of the in-lieu parking fee as a means of encouraging development and redevelopment.”

This ‘n’ that ‘n’ this ‘n’ …

2 Jul

If you’re following the library saga, you know it closed this week. And the county Board of Commissioners has rescheduled a meeting to receive results of polling, and decide what the next ballot proposal will look like. Originally scheduled for July 6, that meeting has been postponed to 1:30 p.m. July 12 at the Board Conference Room, 6th and State. …

OPB covers the library closure

The wheels of tenancy turn slowly. The latest from North Cheatham and the Paris Fair building is that he is working with someone who would like to use the former Annz Panz restaurant space. Said restaurateur has confirmed it, but there are … details. Always, details. The Buzzer knows more, but is sworn to secrecy …

Stephen Ford of Current Commercial is equally optimistic about the details associated with an eager tenant for the Franz Hardware building at 2nd and Oak. “Expect we’ll have that one under contract within a couple of weeks,” Ford says. … And it sounds as if there’s progress on efforts to develop a medical building across from Walgreen’s, on vacant property west of Tucker Road and east of the Columbia Gorge Hood River-Indian Creek campus. Expect firmness by mid-August …

Here’s a credo for you, if you want to survive trying times and evolve with the algae: Never stop learning. Take a class. Learn new software. Explore old software. Learn to become a more polished public speaker. Huh? Who said anything about embarking on the most terrifying of all possible acts (worse than eating live piranhas)? Seriously, though, imagine how valuable you would be to your employer, or how much confidence you would bring to your other business interactions, if you could become a better — i.e. less fearful — speaker? Now, the best news: You can! Join Toastmasters. It’s cheap, it’s fun, it’s supportive, and you WILL move quickly into the top 5 percent of business professionals — the 5 percent who can speak clearly, confidently and well. Want to learn more? Come to a meeting. Noon Fridays, at The Next Door, on 2nd Street between Oak and State. Just come on in. Bring your lunch with. Do it. NOW! (Daddy says). And, um, clean up your room. …

I love the way our downtown wine tasting rooms have staggered their closing hours (no collusion, I’m sure, but it’s a nice accident). Springhouse at 6. Cerulean at 7. Quenett at 8. The Pines at 9. And Naked at 10. Theoretically, you could taste your way around town, emerging sometime after dark and having no idea where you were, or where you’d left your car. Which is just as well.