If you can stomach watching your civic leaders salivate over other people’s money, watch the Coos Bay City Council work session regarding the community enhancement plan. It is has been clear from the very first mention of the community enhancement scheme that Coos Bay and North Bend want access to tax dollars outside of their district and are willing to use their role as enterprise zone sponsors to usurp the rights of other taxing districts in order to get at it. But hey, according to Coos County Commissioner John Sweet, “the North Bay Rural Fire District doesn’t need $16 million…” Apparently, Sweet doesn’t think the county needs much money either because he is in full support of a plan to reallocate county revenue to the betterment of the waterfronts of Coos Bay and North Bend by “redirecting” taxes into the Bay Front Investment Corp.
While it should be noted that Sweet received the majority of his campaign contributions from the Coos Bay/North Bend area all of this comes at extraordinarily little inconvenience to either city. “This is all found money,” says Port CEO David Koch talking about the influx of cash within the city boundaries. “Found money.” What a descriptive phrase for this situation, as in unearned, or undeserved.
“What I like about this is it forces a partnership,” continues Koch. “We are forcing a partnership and seeding it with money that forces a closer cooperation between all four agencies in accomplishing the goals of this community. Frankly, I think the Bay Front Investment is the most exciting part…”
On a side note, one of the councilors bragged about downtown Coos Bay’s industrial waterfront. “We are very proud of it,” said Mike Vaughn. “It has always been a draw for us.”