15 June 2015
Council to hear proposal
Florence residents can expect to see an extra couple-of-dollars added to their utility bills come July 1st.
The Florence City Council will consider fee increases this evening for water, wastewater and stormwater.
The average increase for those three categories will total $1.47 per month. That’s based on an average residential customer usage of 700 cubic feet of water per month.
At the same time, officials will consider increasing the city street fee by 50—cents per month to $5.50. That will bring the monthly increase to $1.97.
In a report to the council, interim city Finance Director Andy Parks said the fee increases are inflationary adjustments, but they will translate into an additional $125-thousand in revenue each year.
Also on the agenda this evening; the city council will proclaim the week of July 4th through the 10th as Oregon Coast Military Museum Week. After a seven year effort, the museum on Kingwood Street will officially open on July 4th.
The City Council meets at six at City Hall.
Construction on a 47-hundred square foot expansion of the Peace Harbor Emergency Department got underway last week. Contractors have set up shop in the main parking area directly in front of the medical center, forcing visitors and patients to use alternate parking and entry to the building.
Peace Harbor spokesperson Kat Rannow says the front door has moved to the south side of the lobby, directly across from the entrance to the Family Medicine Center.
There is plenty of parking near that in front of the lab.
Rannow says there are extra directional signs to guide visitors and patients to where they want to go.
Construction on the expansion is expected to take until September of 2016.
Legislature sees terminus
Oregon lawmakers are nearing the final stretch of the current legislative session. Constitutionally, they have until July 11th, but legislative leaders are hoping to wrap up by June 30th.
State Senator Arnie Roblan says that may be optimistic.
Senator Arnie Roblan: “We’ve got almost a month that we could be here. There’s a lot of little things that people feel like they need to get done. Many of the budgets yet; we got the big one out. One of the big accomplishments was, I think, getting the K-12 budget out early.”
Roblan said that was very important to get out of the way; but it wasn’t the final word on education spending. He said improved economic forecasts that have come out since the K-12 budget approval mean schools will get additional funding above what they expected.
Use it soon; buy it later
Recreational marijuana will be legal in Oregon beginning July 1st. Individuals can grow it, keep it, and use it.
But, you won’t be able to legally buy it or sell it.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission… OLCC… is beginning a public campaign this week aimed at getting that information out and answering public question about it.
Voters in Oregon approved recreational pot last fall. The first provisions of that take effect next month, but the selling part of it won’t likely happen until later next year. Even though you won’t be able to buy or sell marijuana for recreational use for another 12 months… you already know you’ll be paying a 20-percent tax on purchases. The Legislature approved that earlier this month.
Additional heating assistance available
Low income households who have not already received assistance with their utility bills this fiscal year can still take advantage of the program.
It’s administered locally by Siuslaw Outreach Services.
The LIHEAP (Lie-heep) program gives assistance to families and individuals for paying electric, propane or oil bills.
Housing Assistance Manager Bob Teter (TEE-turr) didn’t say how much extra assistance they have, but he did say it was limited and will be awarded on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis until it’s gone.
Households that received LIHEAP assistance between November 1st and March 31st are not eligible.
Teter says interested applicants can contact his office on 12th Street for more details.
Port gets telecom authorization
The regulations allowing what Oregon Ports can and cannot do, never included the ability to work with telecom companies. Oregon Senator Arnie Roblan said that’s because the internet didn’t even exist when the rules were made.
Senator Arnie Roblan: “You think you have everything in place and your community starts working on things and then they realize, oh, we don’t have the authority to do that. It lists all the other things Ports can do, but it didn’t say it could do this one.”
That’s just what happened last year when the Port of Siuslaw started looking into developing and working cooperatively with the private sector on expanding internet capacity and speed in the area.
Port of Siuslaw Manager Bob Forsythe worked with State Representative Caddy McKeon (muh-KYOO-en) on rewriting the rules. They were approved this session.
Senator Arnie Roblan: “It’s clear now that Ports have the authority to make and work with people if they’re bringing online any kind of cable.”
Roblan said that’s just one of the actions aimed at helping ports on the central and south coast as they work on economic development and diversity.