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Letter to the Editor: Why I voted NO on the Public Safety Issue – And a response from citizens with good advice about “The Rest of the Story”

The views and opinions of submitters to “Letters to the Editor” do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff or advertisers. The positions taken in the following letter are strictly those of the submitter.


Just some feedback from a senior citizen who voted “NO” on the police levy to make the jail more comfortable, and so many other benefits to the community, for only 46 cents per thousand dollars assessed value.

I am not alone in voting “NO” and celebrate the defeat with a glass of wine because I can maybe still afford it.

This is the problem from my crude perspective, and fully respect the wrath of others condemning me for not digging deeper into what is left of my pockets. After all, I can skimp on food or a dental cleaning to support taxes going up way faster than inflation.

Death and taxes, only two constants in our lives and maybe inflation as a third.

We saw our property taxes increase over a thousand dollars in two years. The high dollar demands have made the old 32 cents per thousand levy for some noble cause the good old days. Ever since the hospital raised our taxes over a dollar per thousand, the water has been tested and the demands are greater.

Problem with me as a property owner and retired. I’m on a fixed income. Property taxes are going astronomical on top of the mandatory yearly increase if we do nothing to fund some noble purpose.

I’m the guy you love to hate, but no matter what the latest cause is. Save the whales, save the animals, save the police, save the children, save whatever for only several hundred dollars more a year. I vote “NO” regardless of how ethereal the cause is.

Can’t afford it any more. Nobody is out there to save me from being raped with new taxes. How about a measure to save property owners by making the government be more efficient. There is more than enough money out there already. We don’t need to get bled for millions so the issues can be debated in some luxury spa with hundred dollar per bottle wine on my back.

As unpopular, as rude and crude, as low life as it is, I pray that that property owners put their foot down, put their thumbs down. Say NO to everything that is going to bleed us more.

As an aside, one individual told me that he votes yes on anything raising taxes. No sweat off his back. Good programs and need to be funded. He rents and doesn’t pay a penny. Let the rich landlords foot the bill. It is a myth that all owning a piece of property are rich.

Renters don’t understand that the ball will roll down hill. Your landlord is not going to take on another thousand dollars in taxes for your apartment without you sharing in the bliss.

Accountability of how the blood and sweat tax dollars are spent would reduce property taxes to a fraction of what they are now. We don’t need new taxes. We need an administration that looks at the pennies leached out from a home owner with some semblance of stewardship that respects how hard the pennies were to earn. We do not have that.

Next round of ballots will include some cause needing only several hundred dollars a year more than the 3 percent guaranteed increase. First class flight to Hawaii, five star hotel, amenities up the yin yang a part of your bill to analyze the latest windfall tax increase.

Whatever is coming our way, and it is coming, please vote “NO” with me.

Love you all,

John K


In response to John K above….

To the Editor:

The letter from John K about not being able to afford property tax increases because he, as a retiree, is on a fixed income and simply cannot afford additional taxes, is something I’ve heard before from many people. And, believe me, I understand completely the pressures of higher costs for people who are retired and facing even more constrictions on their finances.

So I think it is time to remind everyone that the State of Oregon will pay the entire property tax bill for most senior citizens who are feeling the crunch of income vs outgo. It is a program that has been instrumental in keeping many seniors from being forced out of their homes because of property tax increases for many decades.

Information about it is located here by clicking on the blue link below:


The program DOES put a lien on the property and it is due based on specific occurrences such as the death of the owner or sale of the property. But it does ensure that property taxes need never be the issue which forces a senior citizen out of their home.

As an added benefit for the remainder of the people in Lincoln County, we can be assured that when we vote for a tax increase we are not forcing low income seniors out of their homes. The assistance is available. It only needs to be applied for.

By the way, my mother signed up for the program and I supported her in it completely. It meant that she left a bit smaller estate when she died, but that was very minor compared to knowing she had adequate resources when she was alive.

Glen Mackenroth


Thanks to John Mackenroth for pointing out the option of having the state pay property taxes for seniors, but let’s note what he did not say: this program is only for disabled seniors. Other conditions also limit the number of people who can apply.

It’s a fair program with a reasonable interest rate when the back taxes have to be paid to remove the state lien.

This program does nothing to help most seniors on a fairly low fixed income. Say they retire at 65 with $2,000 property taxes and $30,000 Social Security. That’s already 6% of a low income for property tax. And if the citizen lives in Newport, he or she is paying extra for a swimming pool they may not use.

Living outside a city a homeowner pays about 1.4% a year on the assessed value. That’s about $2,800 a year in taxes.

Now, suppose an owner has $30,000 fixed income from Social Security. He or she is paying almost $1 out of every $10 in property tax. (Add Medicare insurance Part B and gap insurance.)

46 cents on a $1000 is deceptive in its “cents”. With most homes valued above $200,000 that takes about $100 a year. That’s in addition to about $150 for Lincoln Co. School Bond, $50 for Comunity College, $100 Port of Newport, $180 for hospital (“Pacific Communities”), $9 for State Fire Patrol, $45 State fire Patrol Surcharge. TOTAL “bonds and other” about $534.

Let’s not forget that while Social Security income rose some $1 or $2 a month (0.15%) for this year, property taxes rose almost 3% or about $85 for the median priced home.

So, unless you are in that upper income group that can shrug off a $3,000 tax bill that rises every year, John K is a good example of why the sheriff’s proposal was soundly defeated.

Of course, you might break a leg or worry so much about bills that you develop a heart condition and thus become one of the few disable who can ask the state to pay your taxes until your heirs can sell your property and repay with interest.

Wallace Kaufman


I want to reply to John’s no vote on the defeated tax increase as follows. I saw no way to directly log in and respond.

John, I have read your unfortunate thoughts on the tax increase, on your reasons for voting no, and your failure to want to share in our extended financial responsibility for public welfare.

Your comments are unfortunate because most if not all of what you said is correct.

I have a family, wife and 4 young children with a nice home. Retirement for me was 15 years away until my wife was disabled in a car accident and lost her job. The better part of our income vanished and we are barely treading water on my salary.

I am as close as it comes to fixed income. The price of everything is going through the roof and I have seen a nine cent per hour raise in the last 3 years.

Property taxes went ballistic recently and the system has been primed for more bleed and greed. Thank you for telling the guy that his number is up even if he does not own property.

Our taxes increase a minimum of 3 percent per year, but all property owners have received the dreaded post card that the county assessor will pay you a visit. You don’t have to be home. He will just walk around your property to adjust assessed value for taxation. Even when our property value was going down by multiple indexes, the county inflated the value and demanded more taxes.

Part of me feels bad as the different causes pull at the heart strings. In my case, there is no more wallet to open any deeper. We already have no health insurance and our teeth are rotting out of our heads.

I agree with you about the inefficiency in managing our tax “rape” as you put it. We need more accountability, not more taxes. I have often thought that the votes for increased taxes should only involve the property owners who have to bear the direct assault.

John, me, my wife, my kids thank you for your NO vote. We respect your coming out setting yourself up as the bad guy to distill down the sentiments of many.

Rest assured, this issue will come back with many other worthy causes in the next election cycle. All you have to pay is… As long as I am bringing in barely above minimum wage and can’t afford to get my children into a dentist, the only blue collar word or check box I have to identify is NO.

God bless you and all the rest of us out there struggling to survive. Thank you for your knife to the heart comments.

Jason and family

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