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BEND, OR-Deschutes County’s board of commissioners last week approved a fiscal budget last week that raises the property-tax rate to the maximum allowed by law. It is the first time since 1997 that the county has topped out the rate.

The new rate, to help cover an estimated $162 million in expenses, is increasing about 8 cents to $1.28 per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. Half the revenue will offset higher costs for personnel, material and services. The other half will fund a capital improvement account, allowing the county to avoid using levies or bond measures to get money for improvement projects.

The tax rate is the maximum allowed under Oregon’s Measure 50, an initiative approved by voters in 1997 that caps assessed value increases to 3% per year. According to the county, the projected net increase for existing property in Deschutes County this year is about 2.9%.

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