Salem Voters Approve $300 million Infrastructure Package

Posted on November 9, 2022

City of Salem – 11/09/22 11:30 AM

Salem, Ore. — On Tuesday, November 8, 2022, Salem voters approved the $300 million Streets, Safety and Liability bond, Measure 24-472.  The bond will provide for investment in Salem’s future with funding for streets and sidewalks, parks, new fire engines and equipment, and purchase sites for two new branch libraries with affordable housing projects, and two fire stations.  Several previous bond measures will be paid off over the next decade, which will allow the estimated tax rate to remain steady at no more than $1.20 per $1,000 in a property’s assessed valuation for ten years while these projects are constructed.

“As Salem’s new Mayor, I can’t think of a better way to start my first term than with a significant investment in the infrastructure of our community. It shows we have a shared vision for our future and I’m glad to be part of it.  This is a great day for Salem,” said Mayor Chris Hoy. “A broad coalition of groups came together to support this opportunity.  Over the next ten years, we’ll see better streets, sidewalks and bike lanes, safer playgrounds at our parks, a better prepared and more reliable emergency response, a safer city hall and secure information infrastructure – we will see tangible results of the community coming together.”

For each successful bond measure since 2008, a subcommittee of City Council has provided oversight and accountability to progression of bond projects.  Now that the measure has passed, the City Council will appoint a group to provide similar oversight, with public meetings and opportunities for community participation.  Learn more detailed information about the bond package, including a map of the projects, likely staging of the projects for the ten-year bond period, and progress.

What’s Next?  Staging the Projects.  To maintain a steady tax rate there will be three bond issuances during a ten-year period – one issuance scheduled in 2023, again in 2026, and finally 2029 – to put a package of improvements together. The purpose of issuing the bonds in multiple segments will allow:

  • The estimated level levy rate of no more than $1.20 / $1000.
  • Projects to be completed in accordance with spend-down requirements. These requirements dictate how much money of an issuance needs to be spent in a certain amount of time to ensure jurisdictions are spending funds in a timely manner.
  • The fire equipment purchase will be taken care of as soon as funds are available.
  • Staff to have the capacity to work on these new projects in conjunction with current projects.
  • Adjustments depending on the bond market and interest rates over the course of the 10-year period.
  • Complexity of some street and sidewalk projects. Some projects need to be staged over multiple years to allow time for design, potential right-of-way acquisition, and preconstruction work. This impacts what projects can be started right away because minimal design is needed and those that need to be staged later in the bond.

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