Local News – City Cuts Turn Painful; Gas Spike; Election Day; Pampered Chef; Peace Officers Memorial Day

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Local News

City cuts turn painful…

Beginning July First the City of Florence will be using outside sources for all engineering services.  The move, ok’d last night by the Florence Budget Committee, will mean Florence will no longer have an ‘in-house’ engineer to review public works and construction projects.  It also means the man who’s held that position for the past three years is out of a job.

City Manager Jacque Betz called the decision to lay Dan Graber off  – quote – “one of the hardest” she’s had to make.  The city hired Graber three years ago intending to cut expenses, but Betz explained last night the savings ultimately did not materialize.  Finance Director Erin Reynolds laid out the numbers for the committee.  She said by eliminating the position and going outside for services, the city will save an estimated $50-thousand in the first year.

In a separate move, the budget committee approved an increase in funding to Siuslaw Outreach Services from $12,400 to $15-thousand in the coming year.  Reynolds told the committee that it would be offset by higher-than-expected state revenue sharing from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

The City Council must now review the final budget deal before adopting it next month.

Election Day

It’s too late to use the mail, post marks don’t count.  Primary ballots must be deposited in one of the 21 election drop boxes around the county or directly at the Lane County Elections department in Eugene no later than eight pm today.  As of yesterday afternoon, 25-percent of Lane County’s 200-thousand voters had returned ballots.  A massive turnout today could prevent a record low response for a presidential primary year.  By contrast, four years ago the turnout locally was 64-percent.

Gas Prices Spike

Motorists around the country have been getting a break on gas prices.  But not on the West Coast.  The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Florence shot up by 11-cents in one day late last week.  It’s now at $4.02 a gallon, but that’s still 15-cents less than Oregon’s average price of $4.17.  Analysts say a shortage of gasoline inventory caused the increase in the wholesale market.  The shortage is tied to production issues.  The planned restart of a BP refinery in Washington State last week failed, and five of California’s 12 refineries have reduced production because of scheduled maintenance.

Giant Pampered Chef Party to Aid Relay for Life

A lot of folks have been to a home demonstration party… either for cosmetics, kitchen ware, home décor… that sort of stuff.  Those are usually presented in someone’s home and there may be eight to ten people in attendance.  Well, tonight at Three Rivers Casino, Pampered Chef Consultant Katherine Rannow will be presenting what could be one of the largest kitchenware parties around… She’s anticipating more than 120 people as she demonstrates her wares… Everyone gets dinner… there’ll be chili and side dishes… and 30-percent of all this evening’s sales will go to the Florence Relay for Life.  There’s no cost to get in… and it’s open to the public.

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Flags around the country have been ordered to half-staff today in honor and memory of fallen law enforcement officers.  Today is Peace Officers Memorial Day.