Prepping for an Albany “rain tax” – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Prepping for an Albany “rain tax”

Written January 9th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
Lots of runoff on a rainy December day in Albany.

A rainy December day in Albany means lots of storm water runoff.

In Albany, 2015 may turn out to be the “Year of he Rain Tax.” At least it looks to me as though the city staff is preparing the council to accept the need for more money to deal with runoff during storms.

“Rain tax” is my shorthand for some kind of funding mechanism that would pay for an expanded program of managing the runoff when it rains, especially when it rains a lot all at once. By funding mechanism, I mean a fee. The city staff foreshadowed this last year when it got the council to approve, on a split vote, new standards and permits for storm water facilities on developments of an acre or more, along with requisite fees.

Now, starting with a work session Monday, the public works department is asking he council to subject itself to nearly monthly briefings on the ins and outs of storm water management, which is becoming more elaborate and complicated, will be helpful to prevent minor flooding, is required by the customary “state and federal regulations,” and will, of course, cost something extra. And when the briefings at last reach their conclusion near the end of 2015, the staff says it will have some recommendations on how to raise the money.

The council is likely to go along with this. After all, while some might see it as indoctrination, who can reasonably object to being fully informed? Members might want to ask some questions, though. What exactly are those state and federal rules we hear so much about? Chapter and verse, please. Where does it say in the Constitution that the federal government has any business worrying about what happens to rainwater in an Oregon town? And if the regulations are ignored, will the government arrest anybody or send troops?

Further, what exactly is lacking in the way the city handles runoff now? No one can truthfully claim that the Willamette River suffers great harm from Albany rainwater when, during big storms, it runs broad and muddy all the way from Eugene to Portland.

Questions like that notwithstanding, the council in all likelihood will go with the flow and pass the added costs along to residents and property owners. How? Maybe a monthly “storm utility fee” on every property in town. To me, “rain tax” has a better ring. (hh)

3 responses to “Prepping for an Albany “rain tax””

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    A new city rain tax? Along with a new city gas tax? Along more and higher fees? Along with more siphoning of property tax revenues from the local taxing districts? Along with more wasteful spending projects?

    We shouldn’t be shocked if, or rather when, the city council forces these things on Albany residents.

    The old maxim applies – we get the government we elect. And after the November 2014 city election, Albany voters deserve to get it good and hard.

    Elections have consequences. When we re-elect taxers and spenders, that is exactly what they deliver.

    • Jim Engel says:

      Yer preaching to the choir my fellow cohort. For this last election I encountered many who hadn’t bother to vote! I’m with ya on the “Albany voters deserve to get it…..” JE

  2. Jim Clausen says:

    The Beatles 1966:

    “Let me tell you how it will be,
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
    Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all,
    Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat,
    If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
    Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Don’t ask me what I want it for
    (Taxman Mister Wilson)
    If you don’t want to pay some more
    (Taxman Mister Heath),
    Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Now my advice for those who die,
    Declare the pennies on your eyes,
    Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    And you’re working for no-one but me,

    The Beatles song was written about taxes in England but, as we become more like Europe, Europe’s tax schemes become our tax schemes…

    This scheme (rain tax) is being perpetrated nationwide. Do an internet search for “rain tax” and add just about any State name. It’s nothing more than a way to squeeze tax dollars from a people fast asleep…


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