Tag Archives: 2010 Benton County Election

WHICH CUP IS THE BALL UNDER?

http://www.co.benton.or.us/boc/read_article.php?p=333&d=boc

Benton County Commissioners Annabelle Jaramillo and Jay Dixon joined other county leaders from around the state advocating for the continuation of Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act payments at a meeting with high-ranking federal officials on Friday in Portland.

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http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/wopr/oclands.php

The fact is there was an act in place to do some of what the Commissioners would like to do and it is the O&C Lands Act.

The O&C Lands Act placed management jurisdiction of the lands under the United States Department of the Interior, and directed that timberlands be managed:

. . . for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principal of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply, protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow, and contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities . . .(43 U.S.C. §1181a

Our current Commissioners have been working against this act by one not being a member of the O&C Counties Association. By the way they are the only county in Oregon not a member. This organization worked diligently to bring a plan forward to allow for management of the timberlands and bringing back the money needed for schools and roads. The Commissioners just want to continue federal welfare payments that took the place of the O&C Lands Act because they can not maintain your schools and roads without the payments, but do not want to allow logging. We can not stand back and let the Commissioners talk out of both sides of their mouths.

http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/wopr/pub_comments/paper_documents/Paper_1764-1924/WOPR_PAPER_01875.10001.pdf

The rest of this article is back slapping bologna to make it seem like lowering levy fees assessed is something good. Stop the Band-Aid, welfare, ecosystem revenue, waste of tax payer funds and let’s go back to the great work many including the O&C Counties Association are doing. We need to implement the WOPR plan as soon as possible by putting pressure on the President to stop the Department of Interior’s destruction of our local economy.

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Rep. Kurt Schrader organized a roundtable discussion with United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss the topic of county forest payments. Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Peter DeFazio, Rep. David Wu and Rep. Greg Walden also were present.
“Secretary Vilsack was asked to include a long-term reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools in the President’s 2012 budget,” Commissioner Jaramillo said. “This was a timely discussion because the current act expires in September of 2011.”
The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 was enacted to provide rural communities a predictable level of funding for schools, roads and other important public services. The funding was to offset decreasing revenues to counties due to declining timber harvests and other revenue-generating activities on federal lands. That law sunset in 2005, but was extended in 2007 and 2008 to continue funding services in many parts of the country, including many counties in rural Oregon. Aside from going to local schools the funding also is used for maintaining infrastructure, public safety, improving health of watersheds and ecosystems, protecting communities and strengthening local economies based on recommendations of local advisory committees.
Without continued funding many counties in rural Oregon will not be able to meet their current levels of service to their residents. Benton County was fortunate that its taxpayers voted to pass a local option levy to offset those revenue losses locally. When the federal funding was extended, the tax rate on that levy was reduced based on the amount received by the federal government.
“Oregon counties need stable and reliable funding to continue offering the services that are necessary to healthy communities and ecosystems,” Commissioner Jaramillo said. “We deeply appreciate Congressman Schrader’s efforts in bringing together all the parties.”

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WHO IS WATCHING THE HEN HOUSE

My campaign for Benton County Commissioners, Position 1 is going well. My staff has been working hard gathering information to keep you informed. Some of this information will only be available by paying the county for the time it takes to provide the data. Oregon Statute does allow this and we will pay the funds if necessary. It is vital to the campaign and for you the taxpayers to know where funds are being spent. We need your campaign donations to insure you do receive this data.

It is apparent Benton County and the City of Corvallis are combining funds to operate both agencies. Is this in the best interest of the taxpayers? The county has made purchases based on long-term plans for both to build a building together. I have suggested Benton County take advantage of space available at the HP Campus. Commissioner Jay Dixon was the only one to respond from the board. His answers were weak and lacked factual information. Basically, the message was they do not want to interfere with the integrity of the plans to build the civic center building. Our campaign efforts will show the facts and full accounting of both choices. Timing is everything as the leases are due for the current space in 2010.

Benton County has taken an effort to improve the process of maintaining the roads by receiving a permit from the US Fish & Wildlife Department and wasted nearly a million dollars of Federal, State and local funds to turn the permit into a full scale effort to manage the endangered Species act. The answer to the cost of just the development of this plan was to say the money would have been spent somewhere else anyway. This shows a lack of concern with accountability to the taxpayers. I will make sure you know where the money came from and where it is being spent.

Questions we need answered now by the Benton County Commissioners:

Why is the Benton County Prairie Species Habitat Conservation Plan being submitted to USF&W without showing the funding which is one of the criteria to have it approved?
How many people do you plan on hiring (including contracts) to enforce the plan?
How are you going to pay for a Biologist?
What companies are being hired to maintain the plan?
How much private land do you plan to purchase and with what money?

These are just a few issues on the hot plate for early 2010.

Jackson Presents Comments at Public Hearing

Public Comment for the Fall 2009 HCP
September 16, 2009
Benton County Library
7-9 pm

I would like to start off by thanking the tax payers of Benton County for being such good stewards of our lands. We have some of the most educated and considerate people when it comes to the environment. I particularly would like to thank companies like Starker Forest, Thompson Timber Company, Holiday Tree Farms, just to name a few who look after the environment in their every day operations.

I would also like to explain what Federal, State and Local taxes have in common. IT’S YOUR MONEY!!! Just because it is a Federal or State grant doesn’t change the fact that this plan has wasted almost a million dollars of your taxes. This money would have been better spent on economic development to bring down the high rate of unemployment in Benton County.

I have reviewed the Benton County Prairie Species Habitat Conservation Plan and it is my opinion the plan has many flaws. It is also my opinion that this plan should be ended and put away as a bad experiment. To quote the plan from Chapter 1 page 5 paragraph 4, “The County is not required by law to obtain an incidental take permit from the USFWS; it is only required by law to comply with the ESA.” First of all for the public USFWS is U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and ESA is the Federal Endangered Species Act. To simplify the requirement of Benton County is to say to someone wanting to develop, such as building a house on their own land, “you need to receive a permit from Fish and Wildlife if you are in an area where there are listed endangered species. This process will still be in place even if this nearly one million-dollar project does pass the scrutiny of the citizens of Benton County.

To quote the plan: “Benton County has taken the lead to preserve some of the remaining prairie habitat…” “To achieve a lasting legacy…” We do not need a lasting legacy. We need leaders who will support our economy, stand up for our industries and be proactive. We do not need to take the lead we need to slow down as the economy has done and protect the valuable resources that have allowed this great county to be known as some of the best timber, Christmas trees, grass seed, timber products, educational research, and the home of great companies like Hewlett Packard.

This plan is going way beyond the requirements from ESA. Our Commissioners would also like to protect several candidates species that may be endangered some day. How about listing these in the plan; jobs, crops, industry?

Also please read between the lines on Chapter 1 page 18 last paragraph on who is also involved with this take permit. One is the Clean Water Act. You need to read what proposed changes the Federal Government has in mind for the renewal of this act. I encourage you to research the proposed changes.

Part of the HCP is for Benton County to purchase even more land. The commissioners intend to buy up right of ways. I will quote Chapter 3 page 35, last paragraph. “As a conservation and mitigation measure for Fender’s blue butterfly, Benton proposes acquisition of conservation easements on 20-24 ha (50-60 acres) of lands containing high quality occupied Fender’s blue butterfly habitat.” The Draft Benton County Prairie Conservation Strategy on page 54 states under Habitat Acquisition “Habitat acquisition is an important conservation measure that ensures long-term protection of a site. Property can be acquired outright (fee simple) or through a conservation easement whereby the current landowner retains ownership of the property but the use of that property is restricted.”

I followed the Benton County budget and folks, there is not enough money in the budget to operate the county now. It has a levy for law enforcement. It needs money for it’s other legacy, the downtown Civic Center. Commissioners have been putting off road and facility maintenance. The Commissioners said in the Budget Hearings they will have to spend down the reserves to operate in the future. STOP SPENDING ALREADY!!!

One of the requirements to receive the impact permit is to show where the funds will come from to sustain throughout the life of proposed 50 year permit. I read an article by Bennett Hall, from the Gazette-Times on September 13th titled, County absorbs cost of saving butterfly. There is a quote “We wanted to make sure we took the fee piece out because there was so much resistance to that,” County Commissioner Annabelle Jaramillo said.. It is clear that the plan does not have sufficient funding and the budget can not support such waste. End this plan now. Before millions more of taxpayers money is wasted.