Local News- School Board Struggles; Anglers having banner year; Gas Prices Still High; Hope for Trevor

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Officials struggle over final budget figures…

Siuslaw School Board members are having a tough time reaching an agreement on the budget for the coming year.  Most of the allocations have been set, but the focus right now is how much money to spend on athletics.  After de-funding sports in the middle school and cutting back on some high school sports three years ago, many board members are saying it’s time to consider restoring them.  Scott Salisbury said the board needs to listen to what the public told them earlier this month during budget hearings.

Scott Salisbury – “I really felt like during our budget meetings and during the discussion, from, especially the public, that we heard that the education part was important, and I think that we all agree that it is.  And then we said, hey, sports are important as well.”

A temporary levy approved by voters three years ago provides just over a million dollars a year to the district.  While the disagreement may be mild at this point, Salisbury said it was approved by voters to fill immediate needs.

Scott Salisbury – “We need to look at taking that levy money and using it wisely.  But I don’t think the intent of that levy also is to say, hey, let’s keep that money and let’s hold it.  I think that levy money was to be used in the schools… now.”

Paul Burns countered by saying the district needs to set aside some money now while they can.

Paul Burns – “You gotta look down the road.  You gotta plan fiscally responsibly for what’s coming, what’s coming up you know.  A million two in 2015 is pretty dramatic deficit there.”

Administrators are estimating as much as a two-million dollar shortfall the year following expiration of the levy.  They’ll take information gathered from board members last night and try to forge it into a compromise solution to be decided on next month.

Economic Summit Leaves Florence Mayor Optimistic

A two-day coastal economic summit in North Bend last week drew about 160 local officials and business leaders together for a variety of panel discussions on every thing from government regulation to federal funding.  Florence Mayor Phil Brubaker attended and came away feeling positive about the prospects of the commercial and sport fishing industries on the Oregon Coast.

Phil Brubaker – “That was very very encouraging.  Not so much for Florence from a commercial standpoint, but certainly Charleston and Newport and it just, it just made me wonder why we can’t get more recreational fishing activity on the Siuslaw and fill that marina down there with boats all summer long.”

He said data presented at the summit clearly showed fishermen were having a – quote – “banner year” off the Oregon Coast.

Gas Prices still at record levels

30-days ago the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Florence was $3.91… about a dime less than Oregon’s statewide average price and only a dime more than the national average.  Fast forward by four weeks and Florence’s average price, at $4.18, is still about a dime less than Oregon’s statewide average.  But, it’s 54-cents higher than the current national average price as measured by Triple-A.  Why are west coast prices close to or above historic highs while the rest of the country is paying far less?  Nobody can really say for certain, but Marie Dodds with Triple-A says a major reason is because of supply.  Many west coast refineries are still operating well below capacity.  It could be another six weeks, she says before prices drop below $3.50 a gallon.

Hope for Trevor

Efforts to reach the target of $38-thousand for “Trevor’s Fund” are about 75-percent of the way to the target.  Trevor Denning suffered a devastating spinal injury almost exactly a year ago.  He’s been accepted for treatment in Panama that will use his own stem cells.  But it’s estimated they’ll need about $31-thousand for the treatment alone, than another several thousand dollars for transportation and living expenses.  The total is at $28-thousand, plus a donation of air-miles to cover the cost of the airfare.  Cindy Wobbe, who is heading up the effort, says they’re still three-thousand short of the treatment cost, plus will need seven to eight thousand dollars for living expenses.