Preliminary results indicate that Oregon residents approved $421 million in new bond measures across the State at the November general election, which is historically strong. Although results have yet to be certified, and therefore still deemed preliminary, bonds approved by this election were far less than the $2.1 billion approved at the previous Oregon November special election in 2020. Oregon typically sees more ballot measures during general elections, which are held in November of even-numbered years. By election measure, approximately 83% of the issues were approved. However, a startling 98% of the total requested par amount were approved by voters.
The two big successes of the election are the $122,000,000 approved for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue District, and the $180 million General Obligation bond approved for Lake Oswego School District. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue District, which levies property taxes in four counties, is currently passing by a wide margin in all four counties, with overall approval of 70%. The City of Oregon City is asking voters to approve funds for water system improvements in a much closer race, with 50.8% of voters approving the measure. Jefferson County School District, which levies taxes in both Jefferson and Wasco counties, is passing by a wide margin in Wasco County at 78%, and with a much narrower 57% in Jefferson County. In Coos County, currently both of the school bonds are failing
The City of Oregon City’s measure does not authorize an increase property taxes. The City is requesting voter authorization for a measure designed to address needs identified by its water system master plan. The proposed improvements largely address the extreme weather events of this past year, ranging from improved infrastructure to battle fires, to losing power during the extreme cold during the icy weather experienced earlier this year. If approved, the borrowed funds would be repaid through water system revenues, and the City may also pledge its full faith and credit.
The City of Gladstone also had a ballot measure authorizing new debt without authorizing an additional property tax levy. Due to a charter mandate, the City of Gladstone presented a measure for voter approval to issue full faith and credit obligations to replace its public works building. The obligations would be repaid over a period of 20 years out of the City’s existing funds. The City expects to repay the debt using an allocation of costs distributed across five departments (Streets, Sewer, Water, Storm, and Parks). The City also plans to apply for grants to reduce the amount borrowed.
Overall this election saw less measures passed than what Oregon typically experiences during a November election. Although the passage rate is encouraging, the amount of bond measures on the ballot will not provide the typical supply we would like to round out the current year and to kick-start 2022.
This document is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to represent a recommendation to buy or sell any particular investment or security.
Mutual fund investing involves risk; loss of principal is possible. Investments in bonds may decline in value due to rising interest rates, a real or perceived decline in credit quality of the issuer, borrower, counterparty, or collateral, adverse tax or legislative changes, court decisions, market or economic conditions. Fund performance could be more volatile than that of funds with greater geographic diversification.
Before investing in the Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available from your financial professional, and when you call 800-437-1020 or visit www.aquilafunds.com.