Hundreds of families who suffered the loss of their homes in the Echo Mountain fire have been ordered to suffer another blow – they’ve been told they must pay thousands of dollars in re-construction taxes to the Lincoln County School District or they cannot get a re-building permit. Some school districts around Oregon demand the construction taxes, while other districts waive the tax under extenuating circumstances, like floods, fires or earthquakes.
The home construction tax helps to provide upgrades for school facilities as well as building brand new schools. But despite many school districts waiving the construction taxes the Lincoln County School Board and School Superintendent Karen Gray so far are demanding the taxes be paid before re-construction of the homes.
County Commissioners are expected to hold a special session to consider if the county can front the money for the construction taxes while simultaneously proposing a bill in the next special session of the legislature to step in and change the law for those who have lost their homes to natural disasters like the Echo Mountain Wildfire.
Around Oregon, some school districts don’t even ask for construction taxes while many districts will forgive construction taxes in the event of wildland fires, floods or wind storms.