The Dalles Optimist, The Dalles, OR., December 20, 1906, page 1
A Comparison of Income and Expenses
WHAT MAY BE EXPECTED
A Letter From Mr. N.C. Evans, of Hood River, to The Optimist.
December 15, 1906.
As of the columns of the News-Letter got crowded before
I was through with this subject of county division, I would be pleased to
have you place this matter before the taxpayers of Wasco county. The experiences
of counties in Oregon of about the same assessed value and population that
Wasco county would have with Cascade county cut off, shows that the county
expenses would be nearly as much as they are now. As an example; Sherman
county in 1905 had a county expense of $18,480.80, and take from this $3,000
account jail, leaves $15,480.80 with a population of about 4,050 shows a
county expense of $3.82 per capita, and Wasco county had a county expense
of $37,072.20, with a population of about 16,025 showing $2.31 per capita.
Wasco county's expenses were increased by Lewis and Clarke fair, account
exhibit $8,497.97, while Sherman county's expense account exhibit was $541.76.
Multnomah county's expense for 1905 was $279,991.40, with a population of about 130,000 or $2.15 per capita, the cheapest in the state. The cause is clearly the large population.
The total expense of all the counties in Oregon in the year 1905 was $1,222,967.32 with a population of 464,530 or $2.63¼ per capita for the state. This clearly shows to the fair-minded person that large counties cost last than small ones in proportion, and also that we of Wasco county are getting county government as cheap as any of like conditions, and cheaper than several counties as near our population and evaluation.
Every taxpayer in Wasco county is a party at interest in this move, and it will affect their taxes, and should feel backward about taking a stand either for or against it. The most apparent reason for the move is that it will double up the jobs in the matter of county officers, which is a very nice thing for ALL except the few taxpayers of the county. Some seem to think their interest is not worth mentioning any way.
Another bad feature of dividing the county is that Wasco county has little more than one-thirtieth of the population of the state, which will give us one state senator and two representatives, when the legislature re-districts this state as per the state census of 1905, as it will require a population of 7,742 for a representative and 15,484 for a senator. Where we would be with a population of 5,500, and where would the rest of the county be with a population of 10,525. "We might be joint, then the old scrap would bob of serenely." If the politicians would put up this county division job, and issued the statement showing what it would cost the taxpayers of the proposed county, for county and other expenses incident to county government, were sincere. Their judgment of such matters is about as large as a crack in a Willamette valley fog.
This move is not receiving the unanimous support of the taxpayers in the proposed county, as the remonstrances are being signed by a good many, regardless of the inducement held out in different ways to suit the wants of the prospective petitioner. If he is a prohibitionist the argument is get the county, then we will vote it dry. If he is a farmer the argument is get the county, then the farmer will outvote the town and make her pay her part of the taxes. If he lives in town the argument is, get the county and property will double in value in ninety days.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer