Public Works spending to rise in 2016-17

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Florence to truly become a “city in motion”

The Florence Budget Committee got its first official look Monday night at revenue and spending proposals for the coming year.  With a 50-percent increase in public works projects, Erin Reynolds says Florence will be living up to its slogan of “A City in Motion”.

Erin Reynolds – “The general theme of last year was planning and ramping up and putting strategies in place so that we could be well positioned to be successful in meeting the goals and priorities that the council has set for us in the coming 12 months and actually more like two to five years.”

Spending… and revenue… is expected to be up by about five-percent overall:  from about $33.5-million to just under $35-million.  But, street and utility improvements will jump from seven-to-11-million dollars.

Erin Reynolds – “So you’ll see quite a bit more spending in capital projects.  There’s some very significant public investment you’ll be seeing from the City of Florence this coming year and in the years to come.”

The draft budget was presented Monday night.  The budget committee is scheduled to meet Monday and Tuesday evenings next week to begin discussions.

Mapleton voters to decide school levy

Voters in the Mapleton School District will decide this month whether or not to approve the first capital bond levy in 55-years.

If approved, the $4-million, 25-year bond would be combined with a matching grant from the Oregon Department of Education.

The $8-million would then be used to remodel the high school and elementary school buildings.

The high school dates to 1948 and the Elementary from 1957.  Both, says Superintendent Jodi O’Mara, are in need of immediate repairs.

O’Mara will be on this week’s Our Town on Coast Radio.  It airs this afternoon on KCST from four to six; then again tomorrow on KCFM beginning at ten a.m.

Check the back of your ballot

By the way, Elections officials say when you get ready to mark your ballot… be sure to look on the back side before sealing it in the privacy envelope.  The different measures and candidates on each ballot may vary based on your specific location.  Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart said anyone who is a registered member of one of three parties… Republican, Democrat or Independent… will have additional voting opportunities on both sides of the ballot.  She added some non-partisan ballots also have items on both sides.

Once you mark and return your ballot… it cannot be amended or recast.

Betschart also said registered voters anywhere in Oregon who have changed their address still have time to update their registration and qualify for a full ballot.  Voters should go to Oregon-dot-gov and follow the links or call the Lane County Elections Department.  Ballots are due back no later than May 17th and post marks do not count.

Hatchery vs Wild

Presentation of a video that explores a future with abundant hatchery and wild salmon and steelhead will be presented this evening during the monthly meeting of the Florence Salmon Trout Enhancement Program.  STEP, as it’s more commonly called, will meet at the Florence Elks Lodge at seven this evening.

The program will include presentation of the video “Hatchery and Wild”.  It covers collaboration between tribal interests, fishing groups and hatchery managers in an effort to support and sustain Northwest Salmon runs.

The video is free and open to the public.

Retail gas prices jump

Gas prices in Oregon and Florence have increased in the past two weeks, but they are still at their cheapest for early May since 2009.

The local cash average price this morning in Florence was $2.33… that’s up sharply from two weeks ago when the local average was $2.07.  But, it’s about 50-cents a gallon less than it was a year ago and a dollar-and-a-half less than it was in May 2014.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A said Oregon’s statewide average increased 11 cents a gallon in the past week and is at $2.35 while the national average wend up eight cents to $2.22.

Dodds added seasonal demand for gasoline continues to break records as people are driving more.  The surge in demand and higher crude oil prices are pushing retail prices higher.