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“You can connect better if you just have a conversation.”

By:  Joshua Romero and Angie Monday – Leadership Bend Class of 2018

 

Bend Fire Chief Larry Langston’s wise words were recently shared with Leadership Bend’s Class of 2018. With the hot topic of population growth in Deschutes County, how to maintain the region’s increasingly utilized infrastructure and services is a priority. December’s class consisted of speakers discussing campaigns, taxes, bonds and levies that provide financing for maintaining Central Oregon’s infrastructure and public services.

 

Deschutes County Assessor Scot Langton started the day explaining Oregon’s complex property tax laws. He provided an overview of the work his office does and shared his “Tax Fairy” video, an international award-winning video that encourages property owners to use an online tool to graph changes in their property’s values.

Next up was a panel of civic leaders, including Chief Langston, sharing their experiences on bond and levy campaigns. The panel was rich with insight and experience, all agreeing on the same points of success. Ron Paradis, Director of College Relations at COCC, says the method to gaining community support is conducting community surveys, having a good message to accompany the levy or bond, and transparency once it has been passed.

 

This session made it clear that the success of bonds and levies lies in educating our community on the issues and equipping them with the information they need to make informed votes.

After a learning lunch at City Club, the class reconvened to attorney and former Oregon State Senator Neil Bryant joining Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship to learn about the art of bonds and campaigns. Blankenship shared statistics for the county’s 130,220 registered voters and Bryant recapped recent bonds, levies and campaigns and answered questions from the class.

 

This session made it clear that the success of bonds and levies lies in educating our community on the issues and equipping them with the information they need to make informed votes. It’s important to listen to voters and connect their needs and concerns to measures that strengthen our growing community.

 

 

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