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Re-evaluate Urban Renewal, sewer rates

— To the editor:

I would like to express my disagreement with the council’s passage of the sewer increase, but I do applaud two council members (Tim McGlothlin and Linda Miller) who were not in favor of the increase.

If memory serves me, I believe we had a water and sewer increase not too long ago. I, like Mr. Nelson, agree this new increase would definitely place an extra cost burden on our low-income and fixed-income citizens. I also agree the statistics from the engineering firm based out of Portland were way out of line in their projected figures. I have lived in The Dalles for 35 years and the population only creased by 3,000.

The money earmarked for this independent study should have been allocated toward improving our sewer infrastructure. I have a hard time believing we do not have capable people in our community or from the city planning office who could not have come up with a more realistic population increase figure.

I believe at one time street, sewer and water upgrades to infrastructure were covered under urban renewal money. When did this change and why? It seems using urban renewal money on town infrastructure during tough economic times makes more sense than using it to assist a private company to build a financially risky building complex downtown or refurbishing the Sunshine Mill building.

Taxpayers’ money should be spent on health and sanitation or road issues where the general public can benefit as a whole. We are not in place to spend money unwisely.

Proper planning to gradually increase rates over the years would be more prudent without adding any pork barrel projects to the price tag. I would hope the council re-evaluates urban renewal funds distributions to issues which benefit our community as whole.

Richard Hess

The Dalles

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