Every major state legislative session, like the one coming up next winter in Salem, begins by looking over a list of legislation requested by counties, cities and towns across the state.
When it comes to Redmond, the city council Tuesday evening agreed on four major issues:
1. Auto theft. There’s a lot of it but for some reason Oregon auto theft laws haven’t kept up with the times. It’s hard to get a conviction, apparently due to some vague language or loopholes. Whatever the fatal flaws are the Redmond City Council, and many other cities and counties across the state want the flaws corrected.
2. Redmond City Councilors also made it one of their top legislative priorties to fix what is called an accident of confusion. Way back in time, somebody came up with the idea that Oregon cities and counties with similar populations should be paying similar salaries to their workers. Over time, it became obvious that some cities with similar populations don’t have the same revenue stream to pay high salaries – like Lake Oswego, a very wealthy suburb of Portland, and Redmond, a very much less affluent community than Lake Oswego. So the city council added to their list to ask the legislature to remove such glaring differences when cities negotiate for worker salaries with their unions.
3. The council then went after the lodging tax, or the hotel/motel room tax as it’s called in various areas of Oregon. Current law requires that those room taxes must be spent on “tourist related activities” to boost the tourist industry. But many cities and counties have started to complain that what is referred to as tourist related activities don’t include a lot of of “tourist impacted resources” like roads, police, fire and ambulance services including trash pickup among others. The Council, along with other cities and towns, want those hotel/motel room taxes applied to those additional areas as well. There’s likely to be some push-back from the tourist sector, no doubt.
4. And the fourth city council recommendation to the legislature is the city’s opposition to any legislation that pre-empts local cities to manage public rights-of-way (streets, arterials, etc) and their ability to set the rate of compensation for the use of those rights-of-way.
So we’ll see how it all turns out by the end of the next legislative session that ends in late print/early summer.