The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office requested its largest tax increase in years Tuesday, causing county Commissioner Phil Chang to raise concerns.
It happened during a county budget meeting.
Here’s some of the back and forth between Chang and Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson:
“Being able to support requests for needed services and strategic investments has to come with foresight and good financial planning,” Chang said.
“And you have that. And if you are implying that we don’t, I take serious question with that,” Nelson said.
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On Thursday, Chang weighed in on the budget meeting debate.
“The sheriff’s office is coming to the budget committee this year with requests to increase their assessed property tax rate for both districts within the sheriff’s office,” Chang said.
The property tax rate increase includes around 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to the county-wide district and about 12 cents per $1,000 for the rural district.
The sheriff’s office is asking for the maximum increase they can request.
“Right now, given the current economic times, we are seeing the path that our expenses are starting to out-pace our revenue,” Nelson said.
Chang telling us that after a lack of increases the past few years, this sudden boost raises questions.
“If they had been planning ahead and making smaller increases over the last few years, the fiscal cliff that’s out there-that’s not that far out there right now-would be farther out,” Chang said.
Nelsons response to the tax hike:
“Everyone is seeing the cause of inflation, as far as expenses go,” Nelson said. “When I take a look at the history of our tax rates, yes, we have been very blessed to be able to hold those rates steady and eight different times reduce taxes.”
Chang sharing he will vote for the assessed rate increase, but will vote against the sheriff’s request to raise the transient room tax.
The sheriff told us this room tax is how visitors to Deschutes County contribute to public services.