2016 Marion County Update from Commissioner Kevin Cameron
Public Safety – Commissioner Carlson, Sheriff Jason Myers, and District Attorney Walt Beglau continue to provide leadership to improve public safety for all citizens. The Public Safety Coordinating Council has provided valuable input to where resources need to be allocated. About 80% of our general fund budget is spent on Public Safety. During my last legislative session in 2013, House Bill 3194 was passed to support programs that would help reduce crime. Marion County continues to lead the way in innovative programs that make efficient use of your tax dollars in crime reduction, as well as helping those who have served their sentence return as better parents and more productive citizens. We added a patrol deputy to help improve safety and quality of life in the Little North Fork and North Sanitiam River Canyon areas, however Marion County lags in the number of patrol deputies funded to serve the vast area of Marion County. We will be sharing this issue in greater detail in the future and possibly asking citizens if they would like to see that change.
Solid Waste Management – thanks to the efforts of our citizens have made in the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Marion County is the leader in this arena. The first two – reduce and reuse – are often over looked as so much emphasis is placed on recycling, but Marion County recycles about 58% of our waste, the rest is burned and produces electricity to power our homes. Only 6% of our waste goes to landfill, compared to 50-60% of other counties. This year we raised the rate that haulers pay when crossing the scales at the burner for the first time since 1992(?). We continue to look for new technology and uses for products in this system to make it even more efficient, by reducing costs and being good stewards of the environment.
Economic Development – funds from lottery dollars continue to provide benefit to Marion County businesses to create more jobs; and provide for community projects. These funds are invested with our partners SEDCOR and Travel Salem which have in turn helped several industries to expand and enhance the economic profile of our region. Hotels and food establishments continue to see growth in business as well as tourism. The Oregon Garden expanded its Christmas lights program with the addition of ice skating rink for the season.
· Expansion at the Mill Creek Industrial complex off Kuebler Boulevard and the completion of Woodburn’s urban growth boundary expansion (which will include industrial lands) will bring further jobs to our area. There are over 1,100 jobs represented at the Aurora Airport, anchored by Columbia Helicopters, Helicopter Transport Services, and Life Flight. This asset continues to see further growth in the small businesses that are hidden gems.
· We are working with our federal, state, and local partners in researching the infrastructure needs and opportunities in the North Santiam River Canyon communities. This is a long-term project in a rural area that is still attempting to achieve a new “normal” economy after the devastation to timber economy in the late 80s and early 90s.
· Agricultural sales in the County continue to lead the state, but challenges in labor, market prices and port shipping have placed obstacles that must be dealt with. Every industry I visit says that workforce shortage or lack of skills is the biggest challenge facing us today and into the future.
Roads and bridges – our public works department continues to resurface miles of roads every year while incorporating new technology in chip sealing. There are over 1,200 miles of roads in Marion County with approximately 300 miles of gravel roads. A few bridges are being repaired or have been replaced, but the resources needed to keep our farm to market roads up to weight standards are lacking. We will continue to see overall deterioration in this infrastructure as resources for maintenance and repair diminish. Challenges in the future will require us to continue prioritizing where limited resources need to be applied.
Budget – the last two years we have seen a modest rise in revenues due to property values stabilizing and additional development. We have decided to use these new revenues to remodel and update older buildings and capital projects that have been delayed. While not as enticing as expanding programs that will require additional future funding, we know this is the wise and responsible use of your tax dollars. The Health Department building has been remodeled, we are set to begin updating our Juvenile Building and adding a Command Center to our Sheriff’s campus. We were able to obtain a 4 year versus a 2-year contract with our largest group of employees, allowing management and employees to plan and budget with greater stability. Future budget challenges will continue to be the increasing cost of PERS and health insurance, but we will take a conservative approach in our process.
As I shared in my introductory letter this is just a snap shot of the several dozen services provided to Marion County residents by their County government. I will continue to lead the way in improving service delivery and value for your tax dollars. My door is always open and I welcome your thoughts, comments and concerns.
Commissioner Kevin Cameron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 588-5212
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Commissioner Kevin Cameron 2016 Committee Appointments
REGIONAL, STATE, NATIONAL-
• Positive Aurora Airport Management (PAAM)
• Federal Lakes Recreation Committee for Detroit Lake
• French Prairie Work Group
• Incite – Executive Committee
• Marion County Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB)
• Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation (MWACT) – Alternate
• Mid-Willamette Valley Community Development Partnership
• Mid-Willamette Valley Regional Solutions Advisory Committee
• North Willamette Research and Extension District
• Oregon State Fair Council
• Strategic Economic Development Corporation of the Mid-Willamette Valley (SEDCOR) – Board of Directors and Executive Council
• Marion County Budget Committee
• Marion County Community Corrections Board
• Marion County Extension & 4-H Service District
• Marion County Housing Authority
• Mid-Willamette Jobs Council – Board of Directors
• Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network – Board of Directors
• Service Districts Boards (East Salem, Labish Village, Brooks, Fargo and Illahe Lighting District)
• Corban University Leadership and Political Engagement Advisory Committee
• Detroit Lake Community Foundation
• Oregon Governor’s Re-entry Council
• Salem Area Chamber of Commerce – Government Affairs Committee
• United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley