There are a few misleading advertisements and letters in last Friday's (May 4) issue of The Daily Astorian. The Bridgens paid for an advertisement that states, "For a new campus, you will actually pay a total of $1.11 per thousand property tax, not just the 33 cent increase proposed."
That is a flatly inaccurate statement. What the Bridgens appear to be doing is combining the ongoing operational levy that helps pay for heat, electricity, salaries, and other expenses to operate the college, with the capital construction bond on the current ballot.
The operational levy is unrelated to the cost of a new campus. When the bond is paid off it will disappear, but the operational levy will continue. The capital construction bond will cost an estimated $0.33 (not $1.11) per thousand assessed valuation for 21 years, and may legally be used only for building and equipping a new campus. Proceeds from the construction bond may not be used for operational expenses.
The Tontzs' letter ("Bells and whistles") erroneously stated that the new campus will result in a debt of "$34 million (plus interest)." The bond on this month's ballot is for $22 million, which means the public debt will be $22 million plus interest to be paid over 21 years or less at a rate of $0.33 per thousand assessed valuation, much like the mortgage on a home would be paid off.
Robert Lovell paid for an advertisement stating, "Do you really want to see this historic building torn down? Absolutely not!" The college board is not proposing that Patriot-Towler be torn down as part of a plan to build a new campus in Warrenton. Our intention would be to return the property to the tax rolls if the current bond is passed and a new campus is built.
Tom Potter paid for a similar advertisement that requested, "Please don't abandon Oregon's first community college." I am not aware that anyone has suggested we "abandon" Clatsop Community College.
I am for everyone voicing their opinions on the college bond in the best tradition of our First Amendment rights. And I believe everyone should vote their conscience. But it is not helpful in our public discourse on this issue to distort the facts of the situation.
The college board is trying to think and plan at least 50 years out, and it is our opinion that a new campus in Warrenton has the strongest support and is in the long-range interests of Clatsop County. To put off considering a new campus will ultimately cost more.
Citizens need to understand that college board members are elected county-wide as unpaid representatives, and we pay the same tax rates as everyone else in Clatsop County. The proposed bond for a new campus will increase our taxes too, a public investment that I think is needed and worthwhile.
I ask for your serious consideration of the college's bond measure on the ballot. Regardless of your opinion, by all means vote. The information provided by the college and the Yes To A College Campus For All committee is accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Clatsop Community College Board member