Property tax at center of White City debate

Incorporation foes say that not all residents could afford to pay

An economic feasibility study on White City incorporation shows revenue would cover expenditures for at least the first three years. But incorporation opponents say they don't want the tax increase that would provide the majority of funds to pay for overhead, infrastructure, maintenance and contingency funds.

"I can handle myself, I'm all right," said Tony Rieg, 71, an incorporation opponent. "But there's a lot of low-income people out here that can't afford it."

The measure to make White City a city will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The new city's boundaries would be east of Highway 62, west of Bigham-Brown Road, north of Justice Road and south of Hoover Avenue, according to a summary in the Jackson County Voters' Pamphlet.

The feasibility study was prepared in June 2011 by Public Works Management Inc. of Central Point. It showed White City would collect more than $713,000 in revenue for 2012-13, with nearly $688,000 in expenses if incorporation passes. Revenue would increase for the following two years.

"Almost immediately, we would have approximately $800,000 a year coming back to the community," said Stan Alexander, a White City Council candidate who has been heavily involved with incorporation efforts.

More than $405,000 of the revenue would come from a property tax of $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed value. A homeowner with a house worth $100,000 would pay $145 annually, or about $12.09 a month.

The tax would pay for some services currently supplied by Jackson County. Some tax dollars would continue to be funneled to the county to pay for police and fire services.

"We realize that for some this is a lot of money, but at what cost? The cost of having a voice on our community," says a statement on a pro-incorporation website.

Alexander said additional dollars would be available to the community from state taxes and fees.

But opponents, including White City Council candidates Curt Sather, 44, and Lee DeBerry, 56, say services the city already receives from the county are adequate. Additional taxes would be a burden on community residents and businesses, they both said.

Both said they are running in case incorporation passes.

Rieg agreed that the services White City receives from the county are adequate, adding that being a city doesn't guarantee any improvement in public services.

"We have good services here," Rieg said. "Nothing is going to change other than they're going to (have) control."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or

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