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Eagle Point budgets two new taxes

EAGLE POINT - Residents here will see a huge increase in property taxes later this year. But voters, at least, can't say they didn't see it coming.

The city's proposed $8.3 million budget includes spending based on revenue from two additional property tax levies. Voters recently approved annexation into Jackson County Fire District 3, as well as an Eagle Point School District bond to build and remodel schools.

— Eagle Point Proposed 2001-02 Budget

Last year's budget figures are in parentheses

General Fund: $2,112,182, ($1,776,455) Police: $586,438 ($512,615) Fire: $13,476 ($76,577) Street: $891,336 ($692,065) Water: $1,361,474 ($1,137,603) Storm Water: $106,600 ($169,000) Sewer: $1,112,452 ($1,122,994) Developer fees: $2,497,803 ($1,687,831) Water: $1,162,828 ($837,822) Parks: $283,074 ($140,739) Streets: $986,776 ($644,145) Storm Water: $65,125 ($65,125) 98 General Obligation Bond: $55,953 ($55,953) Jackson County Housing Authority: $243,000 ($243,000) Total: $8,380,800 ($6,881,398) The result will be new tax rates of $2.69 per $1,000 of property value for the fire district plus about $2.80 for schools, adding nearly $986 to the tax bill for the owner of a $180,000 home. The city's permanent base tax rate is $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

"It's a great tribute to this community that they saw the needs and are willing to pay for them, even when it will have a real impact on their lives,'' said Dave Hussell, city administrator.

The city last year spent $76,577 to maintain a volunteer fire department. This year, the city disbanded the fire department and used the funds to pay for an additional police officer and other employees, Hussell said.

Eagle Point Public Safety Director Dave Strand will continue to be police chief and will serve as liaison between the city and Fire District 3. The fire district plans to build a new station in Eagle Point and purchase new equipment this year, said Fire Chief Randy Iverson.

The budget also includes money to help build a tourist information center on Highway 62, hire three new employees (in addition to the police officer) and repave a busy street.

The city would use developer fees to help pay for the $414,662 Harnish Wayside project, which includes an information center on Highway 62, picnic facilities and trails along Little Butte Creek, Hussell said. An Oregon State Parks grant would cover about half the cost. The city would pay about $150,000.

The 2001-02 proposed budget - $1.5 million higher than last year's - is expected to be approved by the budget committee this week and sent to the council for adoption in June.

It adds a police officer, a public works employee, a police clerk and a receptionist to increase the total number of city jobs from 16.75 to 21, Hussell said. "We are growing rapidly and we can only stretch the rubber band so far," Hussell said.

While most wages and benefits continue to be negotiated between the city and the Teamsters union, administrative salaries are set in the budget at $63,930 ($60,560 last year) for city administrator, $53,080 ($50,208 last year) for public safety director, and $43,860 ($32,087 last year) for public works director.

The budget includes $350,000 to repave Buchanan, from Main Street to its intersection with Minerva and Diane Way, as well as $500,000 in revenues anticipated from Jackson County for the exchange of county-owned streets. The city would take over maintenance of Shasta or Royal avenues.

Developer fees for water, parks and streets increased by $809,972, partly due to 170 new homes built in Eagle Point last year, up from the yearly average of 150.

New home growth helped Eagle Point's assessed value climb $50 million in four years to $170.7 million.

Reach reporter Melissa Martin at 776-4497, or e-mail