PUBLIC SAFETY

Hayesville, Four Corners will see escalating fee to keep special police patrol

Marion County commissioners last week approved an increased public safety fee for east Salem residents to keep existing sheriff’s deputies who patrol the area outside city limits.

That means property owners in unincorporated east Salem will soon pay $12 more per year in property taxes. The area includes Hayesville and Four Corners.

The East Salem Service District Board voted on the fee increase during their meeting last Thursday, May 16. Under Oregon law, the board members are county commissioners Danielle Bethell, Kevin Cameron and Colm Willis. 

Cameron was absent from the vote but supported raising the fee, according to Marion County spokesman Jon Heynen. A two-thirds majority was needed for approval.

The new fee will take effect on 2024 property tax statements, which typically go out in October.

Proposed East Salem patrol fees

  • Now: $10 per month ($120 per year)
  • Starting July 2024: $11 per month ($132 per year)
  • July 2025: $12 per month ($144 per year)
  • July 2026: $13 per month ($156 per year)
  • July 2027: $14 per month ($168 per year)
  • July  2028: $15 per month ($180 per year)

*Then, 5% fee increase:

  • July 2029: $15.75 per month ($189 per year)
  • July 2030: $16.54 per month ($198 per year)
  • July 2031: $17.37 per month ($208 per year)
  • July 2032: $18.24 per month ($219 per year)

MAP: East Salem Service District

The East Salem Service District currently charges $120 per year for every household, apartment or acre of commercial property. The fee is added to property tax bills.

Now, the fee will increase by $12 a year for the next five years.

That means that people who live in the East Salem Service District will end up paying $60 more per year than they do now by the summer of 2028. After that, the fee will increase by 5% each year.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is not assigning new deputies to the service district but will retain the 10 deputies who already patrol that area.

“The increased fee is needed to keep up with inflation and operating costs,” according to sheriff’s office spokesman deputy Jeremy Schwab.

He said the agency expects the fee increase to raise about $1.86 million for its 2024-25 budget. That would bring its proposed total budget for east Salem patrol next year to about $4.24 million, compared with $2.79 million in this year’s budget.

The sheriff’s office assigns deputies exclusively to the East Salem Service District in a manner similar to its contracts with the cities of Aurora, Jefferson and Sublimity.

The district also provides stormwater management and Portland General Electric service to add and maintain street lights east of Salem city limits.

Hayesville and Four Corners had a combined population of around 38,600 as of April 2020, the most recent data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Calls for service in the East Salem district remained roughly the same from 2021 to 2023, fluctuating between around 19,253 and 19,716, according to Schwab.

Almost one-third of police calls for service in Marion County come from the service district, according to a county slideshow from a town hall about the proposed fee raise. 

The district’s population is near that of Keizer, which has four times the number of police officers.

This story was updated after the Marion County Sheriff’s Office provided information about how much money it expects the fee increase to raise for the agency.

RELATED COVERAGE

Sheriff’s office wants escalating fee raise to keep special east Salem patrol

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

SUPPORT OUR WORK – We depend on subscribers for resources to report on Salem with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more. Click I want to subscribe!

Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.