Let’s evaluate the misinformation recently posted by the Yes on Measure 15-214 supporters

First: the YES position makes the assertion that it is a “negative” for the Food & Beverage tax to fund both Streets and Parks as currently approved by voters. That assertion is not accurate. To maintain the current voter supported multiple uses of the FBT, it is necessary to VOTE NO as a YES vote will only fund Parks.

The YES campaign clearly does not understand the definition of “Capital Expenditures”. Capital expenses can be used for the purchase of land, for  construction, for equipment AND for MAINTENANCE of long term assets. (The Hersey project is a local example).  A NO VOTE will continue to allow for MAINTENANCE and repair of our parks and streets.

The supporters of Measure 15-214 position is that street maintenance & repairs can now be covered by the gas tax, the utility fee, and franchise fees. Except for the gas tax, 100% of these fees are paid by Ashland residents with a utility meter. The gas tax is partially offset by car driving visitors.  Supporters for Yes do not highlight that these utility fees are charged only to Ashland residents. By contrast, the F&B Taxes paid are shared between Ashland residents and visitors to Ashland. This “sharing of costs” with visitors was the original selling point of the F&B Tax. This continues to be important and therefore a reason to VOTE NO on Measure 15-214, not yes.

There are significant street and roadway repairs that continue to be needed. The yes campaign is trivializing street repair needs in neighborhoods as minor “filling of potholes”.  With a NO VOTE on Measure 15-214, these “filling of potholes” and pavement rehabilitation projects can be packaged into revenue bond funded projects such as Hersey was so nicely done. It is unfortunate that the yes campaign is trivializing the important Street repairs MAINTENANCE activity, partially funded by visitors.

The Yes campaign continually asserts the F&B Tax can’t be bonded for street repair projects DEBT service. The Yes supporters then turn around and assert the utility bill franchise fees and streets user fee can be used for revenue bonds collateral. All these revenue sources can be bonded to fund STREET MAINTENANCE projects. Again, the only difference is that F&B Tax funded project costs are shared by visitors. The use of franchise fees and street user utility fees are not preferable for use as collateral for bonds. Why? Because 100% of the repayment of the bond principle & interest falls on Ashland residents.

Further misinformation by the Yes campaign: A NO VOTE will NOT put a greater burden on the City general fund if careful discipline is followed regardless of revenue source.  It will require planning for each use of the funds including clear scope of each bond application as was done for Hersey.  As an Engineer PE, I believe this is another reason to VOTE NO. Planning of the scope of expenditures for bonded construction projects bid packages is a good thing and results in best quality at best price. Again, like Hersey.

More misinformation by yes position:  A NO VOTE will complicate the budget process for PARKS in the general fund. The PARKS will have to continue to be involved in the general fund budget process as one of the many government departments. Regardless, this is no reason to not take advantage of the F&B Tax partially underwritten by visitors to continue to fund streets, roads, AND Parks. Again, a reason to VOTE NO.

So, all yes campaign rationale I have read actually supports a NO VOTE on Measure 15-214, not a yes.

However, the BIGGEST reason we must VOTE NO on Measure 15-214 is:

EXTENSION of the tax out to 17 years from now!

{The yes campaign is silent on it and even the 4 Pro arguments in the voter pamphlet are ALL silent on it!}

When discussing Measure 15-214, proponents fail to remind voters it extends the F&B Tax to 2040! That little omission extends the tax out to 17 years from now! 17 Years!

The yes campaign arguments you are reading fail to be open and transparent with voters on the tax continuation for the next 17 years. My grandkids would be repaying DEBT from a FBT revenue bond if we don’t VOTE NO on Measure 15-214.

The FBT extension is a totally unreasonable debt generating request. Any such BONDS placed on FBT would lock up funds for police and fire, because those bonds would have interest DEBT costs that must first be paid back.

A NO VOTE is called for on Measure 15-214.

With a NO VOTE F&B Tax partially underwritten by visitors would continue to fund Streets and Parks with high quality advance scope planning and MAINTENANCE of our long-term assets.

The planned expiration of the F&B Tax will continue to be 2030- 7 years, not 17 years!

There is plenty of time over the next 6 years for voters to decide about the future of the FOOD & BEVERAGE Tax.  A Lot more will be known about Ashland’s real needs in 6 years.

VOTE NO on Measure 15-214. Ballots will be mailed out April 28, 2023.

Ted Hall, PE (retired)