Gas Prices Rise Quickly in Florence; Affordable Housing Plan; Port Welcomes Budget Committee/Mulls Expansion Plans

Gas Prices Rise Quickly in Florence

Gas prices in Florence continue to shock motorists as instability in the market causes steep increases again this week.  Prices are now hovering around the $3.00 dollar mark with some stations as high as $3.06 a gallon. This is another .12 cent jump in just over a week.  This pushes Florence up to the state average of $2.99 a gallon, the first time in more than 5 years that Florence prices have not been significantly below state pricing.  Oregon has moved from 6th place to 4th place in states with the highest fuel prices.  Crude oil crested the $60 dollar mark and according to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon that price could continue to rise with sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.  The price is expected to rise over the next several weeks as we enter the late spring and summer driving seasons.

Affordable Housing Plan

The affordable housing project that the city of Florence and NEDCO have partnered on is expected to begin construction later this year.  The homes are expected to be priced in the mid to upper 100’s and will range from smaller 5-600 sq foot dwellings up to around 1200 sq ft.  These homes are priced for low to moderate income families.  A single person household must earn a minimum of $33,040 to qualify for state grants and a 4 person household must earn a minimum of $47,200.  The NEDCO model is somewhat unique in that the buyer will own the home, but not the land.  The land is set in a trust that will be administered by NEDCO.  This allows for a lower price point for buyers and keeps the ownership more affordable.  NEDCO currently owns 23 rental units in Lane County and has built more than 140 affordable homes for low income and first time home buyers.

Port Welcomes Budget Committee/Mulls Expansion Plans

The Port of Siuslaw has announced the appointment of 3 new budget committee members.  William Hennig, Katie Prosser and John Murphey have been added.  They join Keith Stanton.  This still leaves one position open to fill, but according to port commissioners they can still do the necessary work with four members.  The board unanimously approved the appointments.  The port is still deliberating on the removal of the blue storage buildings for a proposed additional 16 rental spaces which could bring the port an additional $250,000 annually.  Commissioner Bill Meyer said the project needs some serious consideration even if money has to be borrowed to create the spaces.  Meyer said a 5 year loan on the project would cost approximately $58,000 dollars per year which is about 1/5th of the return on investment.

“To not take this serious and we don’t want to move so fast that we do it wrong, but we’re leaving a lot of dollars that this community could be putting back into this port budget.”

The port is looking at beginning this project prior to the upcoming season, but it is more likely to happen after the next budget cycle.