Mayor voices opposition to state House bill

Enterprise Councilor George Hill was elected president of the council Monday night. He is pictured with new councilor Joann Snead. Photo by Rocky Wilson

Enterprise Mayor Susan Roberts encouraged her city council to actively oppose an Oregon House Bill that could impact the hotel/motel tax which provides the city with approximately $37,000 to $40,000 each year in revenue. HB 2267, said Roberts, would impose an additional 1 percent tax on the lodging industry and, depending how the bill is interpreted, could take local control away from the county and city taxes now being exacted.

Roberts presented her arguments during a council work session which preceded the city council meeting Monday night.

At present a countywide tax of 5 percent is charged at each hotel or motel with one-third of the tax exacted within each city given back to the city. This amounts to about $15,000 to $17,000 annually in the city of Enterprise. Enterprise also charges a 2 percent hotel/motel tax and has upped that to 3 percent effective Feb. l, 2003.

With the proposed state tax to be retroactive to July, 2002, said Roberts, the new Feb. 1 tax would go directly into the state coffers. She is also concerned that a new state agency will be formed which will have a say in how the locally assessed taxes can be spent. "Portland will get the huge benefit from these taxes," said Roberts, noting that the Port of Portland and the lodging industry would control how the additional money would be spent.

Preliminary discussions were heard during the council meeting about the possible annexation of the city airport into the city of Enterprise. Legal counsel Roland Johnson suggested that the golf course be annexed at the same time. Both the airport and the golf course are in the city's urban growth boundary.

Wendy Hansen of the Enterprise Hometown Improvement Group informed the council that the architectural firm of Waterleaf Architecture of Portland has been selected to work on the group's EM & M Building project. Selected from nine "top quality" applicants, Waterleaf had been notified of their selection, but no contract had yet been signed.

Councilor George Hill was elected president of the council to step into the mayor's role were Roberts not to be present. He replaces Marty Thompson who was the past council president.

Fire Chief Russ Gomes was present to make another pitch for a new $130,000 mini-pumper truck which would carry 500 gallons of water, a foam pro system and the Jaws of Life. Mayor Roberts indicated that efforts are being made to finance the truck. "I think we need this truck, even if we have to borrow money," said Hill.

Enterprise City Administrator Michele Young informed the council that she is shopping for a new software package to serve the city's needs. "The system we have is so fragile," she said. She said that she and the city's auditor will view a number of software packages in the next two weeks.

New council committees were formed for the 2003 year. The fire department committee consists of councilors Irv Nuss, Jr., Tim Polumsky and Roberts, plus fire department representatives Gomes, Dean Brown, Greg Johnson and Paul Karvoski. The police committee consists of Hill, Polumsky and Jeff Courtney, while the public works committee is made up of Polumsky, Nuss and Courtney.

The parks committee is comprised of Margie Shaw, Hill and Joann Snead, while the joint administrative/capital improvement committee is made up of Hill, Roberts and Courtney. The city of Enterprise's library committee is made up of Shaw, Snead and Roberts.

Public works director Larry Estes said that his crew will begin work on a new water line on Parks Street from NW 1st Street to Holmes Street beginning about the first week of April.

Police Chief Wes Kilgore announced that Donnie Rynearson is the department's reserve coordinator. He also noted that his department has recently received two new vehicles at no cost to the city; one for the K-9 patrol and the second assigned for reserve use.

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