Letters to the Editor October 16

Renew the meals tax

Seventeen years ago, Ashland residents approved a 5 percent tax on prepared food and beverages. The tax has proved to be a stable, predictable and equitable source of funding that has enabled the city to pay debt on the water treatment plant and to acquire valuable new parkland, while distributing the responsibility for paying for infrastructure to both residents and tourists.

Opponents claim that the tax has undermined Ashland's business community, but where's the proof? In the past 17 years, the number of businesses collecting the meals tax has grown steadily from 109 in 1992 to 131 today, Ashland's property tax values have soared, and the Chamber of Commerce estimates that the annual tourist population has reached 350,000.

The meals tax has contributed to the development of a vital, appealing community that continues to draw new residents and attract visitors. Please join me in renewing the measure on our November ballot.

Pam Marsh


Vote no on meals tax

I ask you to vote no on the Ashland meals tax. As former mayor, I know one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks of the staff was collecting late payments and penalties from struggling restaurant owners. Some were threatened, sued and even forced to close over a tax that only exists in one city in our state. Is it fair to select a small group to collect a tax and force them to make the decision of payroll or pay the tax? I fully understand it is not their money, but also realize small business and cash flow. Let us charge for services rendered, watch our costs and efficiently manage our resources, but refrain from a limited sales tax that you can just avoid by eating just outside of our town. Please join me and just say no!

Alan DeBoer


Vote yes on meals tax

After 17 years, the meals tax is up for renewal. I believe it's in our best interests to keep it going. Vote yes to continue using meals tax revenues to pay a major share of our wastewater plant debt.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, 350,000 people visit Ashland each year — which means visitors contribute a significant portion of the tax while locals only pay if and when we eat out.

And 20 percent of the revenue goes for new parks and capital improvements on existing ones. This boosts our quality of life and visitor appeal. In fact, Ashland's parks and other amenities create a great environment for restaurants.

The system is working for everyone. Please join me in keeping it going. Vote yes on Measure 15-95.

John Stromberg


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