BEND, OR -- An effort to pass a five-cent a gallon Bend gas tax went down to defeat, Tuesday night. With high voter turnout, 64% opposed the measure. Click HERE for complete results.
Bend City Councilor Victor Chudowsky, who was against the tax, is pleased. He tells KBND News, "People were definitely hostile to it. There were very high percentages of people who were strongly opposed to it." He adds, "We really need to pay closer attention to two things: I think there's a lot of anxiety in Bend about how expensive it's getting to live here. And also, a growing portion of our population is seniors - people on a fixed income. And, I think they turned out in force against this."
Fellow Councilor Sally Russell was surprised by the results. "Naturally, we're disappointed. You know, we began this effort in a robust conversation with a lot of independent members in the community. We're all looking for a way to repair our deteriorating roads and do it in the most fair and cost-effective manner."
Russell says it's important to find a way forward. "Clearly, we need to work further with the community; we need to find the right level of service our citizens desire and we need to find the best way to fund it. In a lot of the discussions we've had with the community, clearly there's a gap in understanding of, at least in my point of view, really what the overall capacity is of our city to provide the services our citizens expect."
Chudowsky says the voters' sent a clear message Tuesday "to the City Council to watch taxation and to watch spending." He admits the Council needs to find a reliable way to fund road repairs, going forward. He says this year's road projects are fully funded.