Parks, sewer, college raise taxes

October 29, 2005

Property taxes increased between 13 and 15 percent this year throughout Hood River County – but are up by 30 percent in Odell.

Sandra Berry, director of the county Records and Assessment Department, said the higher rate in Odell is due to the Odell Sanitation District bond levy passed last year for system improvements.

Citizens of the unincorporated community are paying an additional $1.79 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

She said two other levies approved by voters in 2004 have also raised taxation rates throughout the county. The Hood River County School District local option levy is costing property owners $1 more per $1,000 of assessed valuation. And the Columbia Gorge Community College construction bond levy brings an additional 5 cent charge to each $1,000 of property value.

In addition, Berry said taxpayers are still absorbing the cost of the bond for the new Hood River County Library at 21 cents per $1,000. In addition, payments are being made for a school construction bond at $2.11 per $1,000. Another 15 cents is charged for the county Parks and Recreation District levy.

Berry said some of the tax statements, sent Oct. 20, have been returned due to changes in mailing addresses. She asks that all property owners keep information updated so that her staffers are not forced to search for a place to send the annual bill. Property taxes paid in full by Nov. 15 receive a three percent discount.

Residents paying two-thirds of their taxes by that date will receive a two-percent discount. All taxes for 2005 must be paid by May of next year to avoid an interest penalty.

Berry said people wanting to dispute their new assessment, which includes a standard three percent annual increase, may do so until Jan. 3, 2006. She said appeals are brought before a special review board if the issue cannot first be worked out by her office.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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