Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Terrible response to dealing with Bend's snowfall

Bend was hit with a rare, but not unprecedented, snowstorm last week and the city, predictably, acted too late with a lackluster response.

It's a mess getting around town with huge snow ruts making driving treacherous.

It's not surprising that Bend struggles to clear roadways in a timely manner. Afterall, the city waits about a year to patch deep potholes.

Why do city leaders care so little for the safety of its citizens or visitors?

Well, they budget too little for snow removal and road repair.

A story in the local daily newspaper revealed that a quarter of the city's snow-clearing fleet was broken down. Plus, the city only budgeted between $300,000 to $400,000 to clear the roads during winter.

This means that there is no other money to clear the mounds of snow in front of residential driveways caused by city snowplows.

This left one 72-year-old man, who has to carry around an oxygen tank to breathe, with a snow mound more than 6 feet high in front of his driveway, according to the daily newspaper.

And, the city doesn't seem to give a damn.

It doesn't have enough money to clear the streets of snow within a reasonable amount of time or patch potholes because it refuses to impose a 3-cent local gas tax to pay for these basic services. Plus, there is no state sales tax or local sales tax to fall back on.

Almost every major city in the state has a local gas tax, which is tacked on after state and federal gas taxes.

Obviously, Bend is still a minor city because the city council caves to the sky-will-fall, anti-tax cabal anytime a local gas tax even gets mentioned.

Since Bend is largely a tourist town, you would think that city leaders would want to showcase how well it takes care of its roads in summer and winter.

Obviously, it doesn't.

And, it doesn't care about its elder citizens who have to clear small hills of snow in front of their driveways.

Maybe we should all get oxygen tanks.


  1. Dear Xray,
    Just went over my property tax. I paid nearly ten per cent to Bend Parks and Rec. This is more than Police and Fire combined. I love parks but perhaps enough is enough. Seems like a huge percentage for parks in a city that can't keeps the snow plows running much less plow the streets, not to mention basic street repair. You seem to know a good deal about Bend's government. Who sets Parks cut of the property tax? Who can increase or decrease the rate? The Department seems to be a shadow government in the city that wields enormous clout. Any thoughts?

  2. Due to voter-approved tax limitation measures, the park district was able to tax at a higher rate than it would have without the measures. Plus, Bend's park district, unlike Redmond's, is a separate taxing entity. So, cutting the Bend park district's budget would add no money to the budgets of Bend's police and fire departments.