Butte Falls mayor pushes finance reform

BUTTE FALLS — Mayor Ron Ormond said if voters approve three measures on the May 19 ballot, control of city finances and spending will return to the people.

"That's the way it used to be," he said, "and that's what it really boils down to."

Ormond, who authored all three measures, said a finance section in the original city charter was inadvertently omitted when voters amended it in the 2000 election.

He said Measure 15-92 would re-establish the finance section and create the position of chief financial officer, responsible for approving all city expenditures and justifying them to the city council. The mayor, or someone appointed by the council, would hold that position.

Measure 15-93 would limit interest paid on city-issued bonds to no more than 6 percent each year. The City Council would have the authority to issue bonds, but only if voters first approved them.

Ormond said the last measure, 15-94, would limit city fees to a five-year duration, after which time they could be renewed.

Fees could be increased no more than 5 percent without voter approval and fee increases could not exceed $2 per month or $20 per year.

Except for the current sewer renewal project and fees maintaining the water and sewer systems, loans repaid with property taxes or fees also would require a vote.

Councilman Ned Soso said the measures have unanimous council support and are not intended to raise more money for the city. "Just the opposite," he said."The measures set the tone for what a future mayor or council can do. When the finance section was left out of the charter, it left the door open for someone to come in, and go helter-skelter with the fees.

"We're trying to put a freeze on that," he said. "We don't want people getting elected and then indiscriminately or inappropriately raising fees."

Writer Bill Miller Lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.

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