Opinion

Commissioners need to stay out of housing business


Since when is it the government’s role to be in the housing and financing business? In fact, the government has no business being in business of any kind! That is not the government’s role. With the passage of State Measure 102 in November, the people gave the State the ability to become bankers by financing affordable housing through local bonds. Why should ALL taxpayers pay for housing for some who cannot qualify or afford to purchase or rent on their own?! We, who have purchased our homes and property and managed to keep it, did so by working hard and sacrificing, so that we could qualify for a home loan. But if taxpayers keep having additional taxes heaped on them by voters who don’t have to worry about the additional taxes, those property owners will eventually find themselves unable to meet their tax obligations too. Why should I have to help pay for someone else’s housing? It’s hard enough to take care of ourselves.
I understand that we have a housing crisis. I see it as an opportunity for investors to purchase land and build affordable housing in Tillamook County’s outlying areas. If that land was allowed zoning for housing and landowners were allowed to subdivide for development and restrictions for planning weren’t so restrictive, then perhaps investors might be attracted to Tillamook County. This, I see as a government role. I don’t understand why our County Commissioner’s haven’t worked harder at changing those issues to provide an opportunity for landowners to sell portions of their land for development and work with Community Development to relax SDC’s so that investors won’t be scared off.
In the December 12th issue of the HH, the front page article about the newly formed Tillamook County Housing Commission, states that Commissioner Baertlein is working with Senator Johnson on a “bill to allow cities and counties to use up to 20% of the transient lodging tax dollars collected to fund workforce housing.” “This work allows our new Housing Commission to have the funds to stimulate workforce housing for those working in the tourist industry.” What does that mean, to stimulate? Does this mean the transient lodging tax (TLT) dollars will help attract investors? Or just provide more studies? The Housing Commission has a study in the works that will evaluate suitable land for development and what type of housing can be built. Again, I ask, why the County Commissioner’s haven’t worked on that for the last 5 years while our housing crisis just escalated? It seems to me an overdue solution. If Commissioner Baertlein and Senator Johnson are successful in their efforts to secure TLT dollars, I hope there is transparency in how they’re spent.

Brenda Charter