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Voters reject La Pine parks levy

LPRD board member cites 'economic uncertainty' as a contributing factor

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- On Tuesday, voters said ‘no’ to a local option levy that would help fund the La Pine Park and Recreation District, with 42% of voters in favor, but 58% opposed.

The measure would have cost property owners nearly $54 a year, starting in 2021. If approved, it would have reined in $1.2 million within the next five years. 

Park board member Deren Ash told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday the goal of the levy was to get more funding to expand programs and activities for youth and adults and improve facilities and parks.

“La Pine is a fiscally conservative community,” Ash said. “People do care about parks and their community, but we definitely would have had a better outcome if it wasn’t for coronavirus. So, it’s not surprising, with everything that’s going on.”

Ash said he thinks the lack of interpersonal communication with the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in the levy’s rejection.

“The big barrier was the economic uncertainty -- people not knowing what was going to happen to either their own jobs or the economy as a whole in the near future,” Ash said. “They just didn’t want to take a step to do anything that looked like raising a tax.”

The levy also was proposed last November but did not pass. 

“The board and staff worked really hard putting the ballot measure together,” Ash said. “Unfortunately, people didn’t know what it was about, so all the work they did at least carried forward this time around.”

He said he hopes voters will reconsider the levy in the future, once the pandemic is over and people have more of a sense of financial security.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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