Position Statement: Government


1. The League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties believes that capital improvement costs required by and specifically benefitting new growth areas should be primarily paid by the new development. Specifically, a form of development fee should be paid to the city by new growth.

2. The League believes that the responsibility for maintaining urban services in the existing developed area should be borne by the entire community through taxes and fees. The League recognizes that new growth impacts existing developed areas, affecting the quality of living in those areas and should share in funding capital improvements in the developed areas.

The League recognized that no one funding method satisfied all criteria. Specific options acceptable to members included the real estate transfer tax, systems development charge, income tax, business fees, users’ fees and bonding in combinations which insure that all elements of the community share the costs of capital improvements.

The League will take action for securing methods of financing capital improvements in the Salem urban area which are based on the benefits received and ability to pay, as well as the above positions.


The League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties supports a system which will:

  1. Achieve grouping of related governmental activities of like nature.

The League supports appointment of an administrator whose departments are set up along functional lines in such a way as to avoid duplication and promote efficiency. The League supports the appointment of the sheriff.

2. Encourage citizen interest and participation through provision of citizen advisory boards, the powers, duties and limitations of which should be clearly defined.

Matters of county concern should have the widest possible exposure to citizen participation and adequate time should be allowed for dissemination of public information before an election.

3. Clearly fix authority and responsibility.

4. Provide enough flexibility to meet the needs of the day. (If an elected board of commissioners is assigned some administrative duties, it should have some limitations set which would prevent creation of a rigid administration.)

Note: The League Board, after lengthy discussion, voted to support the proposed Marion County Home Rule Charter of May 1974. It failed to pass. The 1982 Annual Meeting voted to support the Charter on the November 1982 ballot. It failed to pass. The LWVMPC Board voted to support a proposed Home Rule Charter on the May 2010 ballot. The measure failed to pass.

Note: Marion and Polk County government operations were studied in 2005. To read the full report, click here.


The League supports a county system that will:

1. Minimize duplication of governmental activities, work cooperatively with other governmental bodies and agencies, encourage equitable financial agreements, and ensure access to county services.

2. Encourage citizen participation on advisory boards and commissions through compliance with open meetings and public records laws by including time for citizen comment in agendas among diverse cultural groups.

3. Provide voter service adequate to educate voters about the ballot.

Note: Marion and Polk County government operations were studied in 2005.  Read Report


The League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties supports a system which allows the administrative duties of the county government to be divided equally among the commissioners on a rotating 12 to 18 month basis.

The League supports good communication between the commissioners and the other elected officials:

  • Schedule regular meetings with all elected officials;
  • Provide the public with information regarding the audits of the elected officials;
  • Publicize county matters through the use of all forms of media.

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