Local News – Property Tax Bills; Congressional Race; Early jail releases

Coast Radio News
Local News

October 23, 2012

Tax Bills in the Mail…

Overall, property owners in Lane County will pay about one-percent more than last year.  Tax statements are in the mail this week and the total amount to be collected by Lane County on behalf of 83 separate taxing districts will be $406.5 million; up just under $4-million from 2011.


In Florence, many residents will actually see a lower tax bill than last year as the median assessed value of residential property fell from $157-thousand last year to $151-thousand.  The tax rate did go up slightly, but for a home assessed at that median price the tax bill will be $47 less overall.


In Dunes City, the median value increased by three-thousand dollars to $215,800.  The tax bill on a home of that value went up from $2,160 to $2,232.


The only increase in rate that will be seen by property owners in Lane County is a 45-cents-per-thousand levy approved by voters in the Western Lane Ambulance District… that replaces an expiring 25-cent levy.



Republican 4th District congressional candidate Art Robinson is suing Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio over what Robinson is calling misleading billboards that violate federal election laws.  The billboards show a prominent picture of Robinson with the words “Art Robinson says” followed by various comments such as “Public schools should be abolished” and “Social Security should be ended through attrition”.  In the Circuit Court lawsuit filed yesterday, Robinson alleges the billboards either have no federally required disclaimer or that it’s so small, motorists can’t read it.  Robinson is seeking more than a million dollars in damages and accuses DeFazio of taking his words out of context.  DeFazio says the disclaimers were a billboard company error that is being fixed… but, he adds, he stands by the content of the ads.



In the two week period that ended October 21st 199 prisoners were released early from the Lane County Jail because of a lack of space.  Of those, 62 had been convicted of various crimes such as robbery, drug possession, and assault.  The other 137 were pre-trial defendants who had not made bail, but were awaiting court dates.  Sergeant Carrie Carver with the Lane County Sheriff’s office highlighted two of the releases… both of them nearly six months ahead of schedule.  One had been convicted of assault, strangulation and unlawful use of a weapon.  The other had been convicted of several felonies including robbery, drug possession and failure to appear.  Lane County has been release prisoners early since closing more than half of the available 240 jail beds in June because of budget restraints.



State police were able to neutralize what they’re calling a small improvised destructive device early Sunday morning following a traffic stop on Highway 101 south of Reedsport.  A 17-year old North Bend youth was transported to the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center and three others were cited in connection with the incident.  Lieutenant Steve Smart with the Oregon State Police office in Coos Bay said a routine traffic stop just after midnight for a speeding violation resulted in the discovery of alcohol and the destructive device in the glove box of the small pickup.  Hazardous Device Technicians responded later Sunday and neutralized it.  Smart said the exact size and nature of the device would not be disclosed.