Madras withdraws “prepared food tax” ballot measure

The economic situation caused by COVID-19 has forced Madras city officials to withdraw a ballot measure that would have put a 5% tax on prepared food and beverages in town.

The tax would have generated about $1 million a year to help repair the city’s roads.

City Administrator Gus Burril and staff made the decision this week and City Council will vote to ratify the decision on March 24th.

“In light of the deep financial impact COVID-19 restrictions are having on the restaurant establishments, we’ve made the decision to withdraw the measure  from the May election and revisit the idea when the economy is in a stronger position,” Burril said.

Jefferson County’s deadline to withdraw the measure was today.

“Even though the measure would not go into effect until April 2021, we need to give our local businesses time to recuperate from this situation,”said Mayor Richard Ladeby.

The City plans to revisit the idea once the economy is in a stronger position.

On Wednesday, the Bend City Council voted to remove a $190 million transportation bond measure from the May ballot. That measure would have paid for more than two dozen road projects throughout the city.

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