As the May 21 election nears, Hood River County continues to receive questions and comments about its proposed measures on the upcoming local ballot. Residents may expect a voter pamphlet providing information on candidates and measures; however, a voter pamphlet will not be distributed since the election is not a statewide primary or general election.

In recognition of this, Hood River County sent out a mailer to help explain information on two proposed measures placed on the ballot by the county, including anticipated impacts whether measures pass or fail.  Hood River County has placed a proposed five-year Local Option Levy, Measure 65, as well as a proposed 5 percent Prepared Food and Non-alcoholic Beverage Tax, Measure 66, on the upcoming ballot.

According to County Administrator Jeff Hecksel, the county has received comments and feedback about the mailer. Based on feedback, the county has revised some wording on its Voter Information piece to improve accuracy and clarity and has posted the update on Hood River County’s website homepage.

One question surrounds the example of calculated taxes for a median value home in Hood River County, county officials said in a press release.

The information cited a median Real Market Value (RMV) of a residence in Hood River County as $368,580. This information has confused some because property taxes are calculated on Assessed Value, not Real Market Value, said the press release.

The taxable value of that same home is estimated by multiplying the changed property ratio of 53.2 percent for an assessed value of $196,085. Therefore, the annual assessment on that home, if the proposed Local Option Levy were approved, would be $174.52.    

“It may have added some clarity to add the word ‘taxable’ in front of assessed value so people did not think the tax was being calculated on real market value,” Hecksel said.

Another question surrounded the accuracy of the statement, “Hood River County employs 9 percent fewer staff compared to 2006 despite nearly a 30 percent increase in county population and 56 percent inflation over the same period of time.”

According to Hecksel, the county’s audit reports show the county does indeed have 9 percent fewer employees since 2006; however, the 30 percent population growth and 56 percent inflation were calculated since 1997, when the county’s permanent property tax rate was set based on Tax Limitation Measure 50, said the press release.

“It is unfortunate that these two time periods were accidentally joined for comparison in the final draft of the mailer,” said Hecksel.

The county has posted a revised mailer on its website with these two changes. For further information, visit co.hood-river.or.us.

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