Council approves levy that would charge OSU for police service

2013-07-16T08:00:00Z 2013-07-16T14:12:06Z Council approves levy that would charge OSU for police serviceBy JAMES DAY, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

The Corvallis City Council approved a property tax levy Monday night for the November ballot that would leave Fire Station No. 5 closed, add Sunday hours for the library and charge Oregon State University for police services.

The levy, if approved, would produce about $3.2 million per year for five years and cost property owners approximately 82 cents per $1,000 in assessed value. The levy also would raise $600,000 per year to offset the loss of property tax revenue in the Hewlett-Packard tax appeal case.

An amendment to reopen Fire Station No. 5, closed by 2012 budget cuts, was defeated, but councilors, after a vigorous debate, voted 7-2 to essentially charge OSU for police assistance.

The proposed new levy includes funds for three community police officers, whose primary duty would be to ease neighborhood livability issues arising from Oregon State enrollment growth. The plan is contingent upon OSU chipping in to pay for an additional officer as a gesture of good faith. If OSU says no and the levy passes, only two officers would be funded.

“It’s time to put their feet to the fire,” Ward 9 Councilor Hal Brauner said of the university, which has been criticized for not paying for city services it uses. “Sometimes you have to do things to get results.”

“I will vote yes,” said Council President Richard Hervey. “I’ve been hearing from citizens over and over about this.”

Steve Clark, OSU vice president for marketing and university relations, expressed concerns about the move in a telephone interview.

“I’m surprised that the council would take an action like this without talking to the university first,” Clark said. “I look forward to hearing more, but how they can get to this point without having that conversation in advance is very difficult to ponder.”

The proposed levy is designed to replace one that expires June 30, 2014. The current levy raises $1.9 million per year for the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, the Osborn Aquatic Center, the Senior Center and some social services.

That levy tacked on 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, costing the owner of a $200,000 home $90 per year. The new levy, if approved by voters, would increase that to $163 per year.

The new levy would continue to fund the library, pool, Senior Center and social services at the same level as before.

Here is a look at other services to be supported by the levy:

• The addition of a long-range planner and more code enforcement for the Community Development Department.

• The addition of a fire prevention officer.

• In addition to continuing the library services in the current levy, the new one would restore Sunday hours.

• The Corvallis Police Department also would add a resource officer to work in the schools.


Here is a look at services approved by the Corvallis City Council for a property tax levy on the November ballot:

Service FTE, Cost

Planner 1.0, $97,340

Code enforcement 0.5, $38,700

Fire prevention officer 1.0, $138,550

HP appeal 0.0, $600,000

Library Monday hours* 3.0, $218,410

Library materials/services* 4.25, $782,140

Library Sunday hours 0.0, $62,240

Osborn Aquatic Center* 4.6, $426,640

Senior Center* 3.25, $319,010

Community police officers 3.0, $308,560

School resource officer 1.0, $102,180

Social services* 0.0, $106,340

Total 21.60, $3,200,110

Note: * refers to services from the current levy that would be renewed

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-758-9542. Follow at or


Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. zeitgeist
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    zeitgeist - July 18, 2013 12:20 pm
    Boohoo, the university is upset because the city wants to "take an action like this without talking to the university first".

    Like the university ever asked the city about doubling its enrollment - like that has no affect on livability.... University president Ray seems to think he is above any collaboration with the city and can dictate whatever he wants. Well this is fair turnaround, and a modest start.

    It's about time the city stood up for the citizens, instead of kowtowing to the megalomaniac of Kerr Admin. We do not want to become another Columbus, Ohio - the "other" OSU that Ray came from and seems bent on re-creating here. Take it back to Ohio, Mr. Ray, we don't want it here!
  2. CorvallisUberAlles
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    CorvallisUberAlles - July 17, 2013 10:22 am
    The ongoing crime issues are due to drug addiction and mental illness. Why don’t we treat these problems at the source???? I would be 100% willing to pay for increased mental health services in this City; including addiction treatment and family planning. But more cops? No fing way! Then we just have to pay for more jails.
  3. CorvallisUberAlles
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    CorvallisUberAlles - July 17, 2013 10:17 am
    This is no way to form a partnership, each side buffaloing each other and the public. Why are we adding services when we can't maintain the ones we have? Period. How dangerous is Corvallis? The biggest issues are with students getting drunk. I say have the OLC enforce laws they have in regard to over serving and require bars to have increased private security during peak hours. Or consider contracting with a private security company Friday and Saturday nights in prime trouble areas (rather than funding full positions, we don’t need fully trained officers to babysit drunk college kids). They likely don’t even need firearms. Other City’s have lesser trained/lower cost enforcement personal that respond to low level crime and take reports (car break in’s, shop lifting etc.) Besides most likely the increase in OSU enrolment will be from international students - these students are not generally a legal issue. They have too much to loose and do not want to embarrass their families/countries and many have religious tenets against drinking. Once Corvallis shows me this HUGE crime problem then I may want to pay more in taxes, but really? Do we really want to live in a heavily policed Corvallis? Not me. Ever consider that Maybe, Just Maybe Corvallis see's increased Police as a revenue generating tool = more tickets. Just a thought.
  4. NP Mom
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    NP Mom - July 16, 2013 7:11 pm
    TheRealJules-I seriously hope your last paragraph was written in the sarcasm font. When I was a kid, pools cost money and the library was closed on the weekends. I went to college, got a real job, stayed out of trouble. Never did I become a "juvenile delinquent" because I couldn't play. I was expected to do chores while my parents were at work-no "free babysitting here", have responsibilities and pitch in with both my family and the community. If society had the same standards as back then I highly doubt we would be faced with the issues we face today with kids who are self entitled and spoiled because society has catered to their every fancy.

    And speaking of shutting down services. The idiots running the city already have already been shutting down very important services-the fire station. So when your kid is at the pool hopefully that 16 year life guard knows enough advanced life support techniques to keep your kid alive if they drown-because EMS services response times are slower now that they've shut a station down. Or that library where your kid hangs out in, along with half the transients in Corvallis-hopefully when one of them overdoses from drugs, your kid isn't too traumatized by the length of time it took responders to get there because again EMS times are slower due to the station closing down. OR yet again, the senior center-hopefully grandma's heart attack can wait a few minutes, because yes, EMS response times are again slower. City government needs to pull their heads out of that area where the sun don't shine and prioritize public freaking safety. Hope that helps shed some light on the real situation-forget the stinkin levy.
  5. Gizmo
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    Gizmo - July 16, 2013 2:32 pm
    Oh and keep writing!
  6. Gizmo
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    Gizmo - July 16, 2013 2:29 pm
    Hey Jim,

    What folks need to understand is that the council plans to go out for a smaller levy in May 2014 if this "pie in the sky" levy fails in November 2013. (You can read as much in the mayor and ward 3 councilors public email account.) Seems a little shifty to me. If they really think we need or want all the bells and whistles why wouldn't they just come out with a similar package in May. They know it's going to be a c#$p shoot to get the big levy passed but they are willing to gamble with the money and the trust of taxpayers to get what they want.
  7. JimDay Staff
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    JimDay - July 16, 2013 2:05 pm
    Jim Day here. Thanks for the comments and for reading my story. One note of emphasis from my end: TheRealJules is correct that should the levy fail, the funding for the library, Senior Center and pool would be in jeopardy. That is the risk of putting this many services in a levy. The voters either say yes to all of it or no to all of it.

    Keep reading!

  8. TheRealJules
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    TheRealJules - July 16, 2013 1:06 pm
    Yes, Rui. That's the plan. Seek more money from the bottomless pockets of the taxpayer by threatening to shut down services. Make anyone who calls for fiscal responsibility on the part of the city look like they hate kids and seniors.

    Think of the children! What will they do if they can't be sent to the Library on Sunday for free babysitting services? How many juvenile delinquents will be created because they can't go play in Otter Park at Osborne?
  9. TheRealJules
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    TheRealJules - July 16, 2013 1:04 pm
    What dialog? The city has decided to bill OSU without bothering to talk to OSU about it, nor do they have a legal basis to do so.

    Why would Brauner's paper lion act cause anyone to treat him with more respect? If you admit that OSU/city relations will be set back years by this, you cannot then say you expect that there will be a positive result. Unless, of course, setting relations back a few years is what you want to happen.
  10. YaRight
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    YaRight - July 16, 2013 12:12 pm
    I am aware. Going to love watching the dialog between the two parties.
    The city/OSU collaboration my get held back for years, but the roaring of paper lions (cute metaphor) may also cause these matters to be taken more seriously in future collaborations.
  11. Gizmo
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    Gizmo - July 16, 2013 10:21 am

    You may not be aware but the university has made several public statements to the effect that they will not be making any payments to the city nor are they required to do so. Brauner's comment that the council is "holding OSU's feet to the fire" is nothing more than the roaring of a paper lion. At best the council is making a weak and vain attempt to appear as though they are giving the university the chance to "do the right thing". That's hardly heroic. Anyone who knows, knows that this stunt may set any useful city/OSU collaboration back years. The majority on the council are grandiose in their delusions of importance. There are ways to get at OSU's wallet but the council knows the negative consequences of doing so would be high. As I said, the present action makes it appear as though they are being "tough" with out actually achieving their desired result.
  12. YaRight
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    YaRight - July 16, 2013 9:42 am
    Never thought I would say this but...
    Kudos to Corvallis City Council.

    Listening to residents,
    making compromises,
    and standing up to OSU
    (it may be a vain attempt, but it's a start).

    In my 12 years watching them this is the first time I have seen the council act like they are elected representatives; usually they seem to focus upon their individual pet projects as often as possible; listening to others and other matters with only half an ear.

    Going to love watching OSU evade this.

    P.S. Maybe for the month of October the city can cross-check tickets and arrests with current OSU students and build a case to make OSU pay for what they would like to consider collateral damage.
  13. Gizmo
    Report Abuse
    Gizmo - July 16, 2013 9:17 am
    "Russian roulette is a potentially lethal game of chance in which a player places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and pulls the trigger."

    Corvallis City Council, you are either very brave or very foolish. I guess we'll find out in November. I'd suggest that you get out and start knocking on doors but, alas, I know you can't be bothered. Sigh.
  14. NP Mom
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    NP Mom - July 16, 2013 9:11 am
    Can't believe they voted to keep fire station 5 off the ballot. What morons! PUBLIC SAFETY over frivolous things like a pool, library and sr. center!
  15. Marley
    Report Abuse
    Marley - July 16, 2013 8:40 am
    Does this mean we lose funding for the library, senior center and aquatic center if we don't vote for this " add on". BOO City Council Bad move.
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