AGENDA: Marion County Commission could finalize deal to fund deputies in east Salem

The Marion County Commission on Wednesday could put the final touches on a plan that funds 10 police officers in east Salem.

An intergovernmental agreement between the county and the East Salem Service District would charge fees to nearly 8,000 homes and businesses in Hayesville and Four Corners. It could generate $4.9 million in the next two years, according to the contract.

Property owners in those neighborhoods started paying the added fees late last year and the county has started collecting the revenue, said county spokeswoman Jolene Kelley. The fee was included on the 2018 tax statements sent out last October, she said.

Commission approval Wednesday would make the funds available to the sheriff’s office.

Lt. Chris Baldridge said the sheriff’s office has already started hiring and training deputies. He said Hayesville and Four Corners account for nearly 55 percent of calls for service, yet the sheriff’s office has been undermanned in recent years.

“We can truly get back to that community policing model that allows us to understand our neighborhoods, understand their needs and hopefully solve the problems that are contributing to any kind of livability issues,” he said.

About 40,000 people live in the areas, according to the county.

Baldridge added the law enforcement agency hopes to have round-the-clock police coverage in those neighborhoods by Winter 2020. He said five deputies could be hired and trained by October.

Under the agreement, single-family homes in the service district pay $120 per year and multi-family residences pay $120 per unit per year. Commercial or industrial properties pay $120 per year per acre.

The agreement would last through June 30, 2021, according to the agenda, and it could be extended for up to three years.

Besides that agreement, commissioners will also consider selling Auburn Park, at 4650 Auburn Road N.E., to the Salem-Keizer School District so it can expand Auburn Elementary. The school district has reportedly agreed to buy the 4-acre land for $360,000.

County commissioners on Wednesday will also consider approving and denying liquor licenses. Seven licenses up for renewal could be denied, according to the agenda, including including Elkhorn Golf Course which reportedly owes almost $130,000 in property taxes.

Meeting details: Wednesday, March 11 at 9 a.m., Senator Hearing Room, 555 Court Street N.E. Salem.

Commission members: Sam Brentano, Kevin Cameron, Colm Willis.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, [email protected] or @TroyWB.

TRY A FREE SAMPLE – You can see for yourself the kind of local news reporting brought to you by the team of professional reporters at Salem Reporter. You can read us for free for 30 days. Signing up is easy and gives you 24/7 access to our reports. Sign up HERE. Thank you. — Les Zaitz, editor