Update, June 21
The Marion County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved a budget for the upcoming year that will roll back funding for wildfire relief as county officials have less federal money to spend on such services.
The budget also includes cost-of-living adjustments that will raise pay by 5% for elected officials and most union-represented county employees.
“This is a pretty healthy budget for a county this size. I would say that it’s a pretty frugal budget as far as how we operate,” Commissioner Danielle Bethell said at the Wednesday board meeting.
The new budget total is a 3.7% decrease in spending compared to last year’s budget, the largest in the county’s history.
“The reason is because we didn’t treat one time federal money as entitlement,” Board Chair Colm Willis said at the meeting. “That’s good for both our employees, and it’s good for the taxpayers
County officials said at a May 23 Budget Committee meeting that they are spending significantly less federal pandemic relief money this upcoming year and reserving some of the one-time-funds for future years.
The budget also calls for spending less on contracted services this upcoming year at $79.6 million, down from $93.4 million in the 2022-23 year. Such contracts cover a wide range of services including youth stipends, programming and data, ambulance and laboratory services.
The county spent about $1.7 million last year on wildfire recovery work in the Santiam Canyon, more than twice what is budgeted for the upcoming year at $747,000.
Commissioners on Wednesday also approved the third supplemental budget for fiscal year 2022-23, which would add about $15.2 million to the county’s existing budget.
That includes a nearly $7 million increase in county spending, primarily for wildfire relief and capital projects, Senior Budget Analyst Daniel Adatto said at the meeting.
The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to pair officers with a qualified mental health professional to respond to crisis calls.
The $300,000 agreement would continue the existing Mobile Crisis Response Team, which officers can call to take over and help de-escalate a person experiencing a mental health crisis, through 2025.
The contract is renewed every two years for the program, which started in 2014, according to Ann-Marie Bandfield, program manager for acute and forensic behavioral health at the county’s Health and Human Services Department.
Bandfield said at the meeting that the team provides services from 8 a.m. to midnight and is now back to full staffing after seeing turnover during the pandemic.
“They’re really making a difference out there. They’re really seeing a lot of folks and building a lot of relationships with other law enforcement officers,” she said at the meeting. “They’re getting a lot of calls for consultation while they’re on their shift to assist other officers as they’re working with folks who may be having a mental health crisis as well. So it reaches far beyond their direct impact.”
The board unanimously approved or advanced other agenda items, including funding two positions providing services to domestic violence victims, community supervision for people who have committed nonviolent property and drug offenses, and state grant funds intended to get people out of the criminal justice system and back into their communities.
Original story below:
The Marion County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday will hold a public hearing to approve the county’s budget for the upcoming year.
READ IT: AGENDA
Commissioners will vote following the hearing, which comes about a month after the Marion County Budget Committee recommended for approval a $688.9 million budget with cutbacks nearing $27 million in the 2023-24 year.
There will also be a public hearing Wednesday to consider adopting the third supplemental budget for fiscal year 2022-23. Commissioners would then vote on the supplemental budget, which would add about $15.2 million to the county’s existing budget.
The proposal comes after several county departments requested larger budgets due to increased positions, according to the agenda item. The new budget would total about $730.9 million.
The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. Anyone can attend or sign up to give public comment in-person at the meeting. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube.
Crisis calls, public safety
Commissioners will consider approving a memorandum of understanding with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to pair officers with a qualified mental health professional to respond to crisis calls.
The $300,000 agreement would span through June 2025. The sheriff’s office would assign trained officers to ten-hour-shifts, four days a week to take calls that “have a mental health component” and assist other agencies throughout the county with such calls, according to the agenda item.
The service is a continuation of the existing Mobile Crisis Response Team, which officers can call to take over and help de-escalate a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
The board will consider accepting a $354,000 grant from the state Department of Justice’s Crime Victim and Survivor Services Division to fund two positions providing services to domestic violence victims: family violence program coordinator and the underserved communities outreach coordinator. The award through 2025 requires 25% matching funds, which are partly budgeted in the district attorney’s office budget as well as volunteer hours.
They will also consider approving a $299,000 agreement with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office to identify at least 100 people per year who have committed nonviolent property and drug offenses to receive community supervision through the sheriff’s office.
The agency would use its “public safety checklist” to assess the likelihood someone will be arrested again for a person or property crime based on factors like age, gender, current crime, domestic violence, past arrests and prior incarceration.
Commissioners will consider several contracts related to the Justice Reinvestment Act passed during Oregon’s 2013 Legislative Session, creating a state grant program that funds community-based sanctions and services which help keep people out of state prisons.
The intent is partly to save public money in the long-term by reducing the need to pay for costly incarceration. Marion County has received funding from the Justice Reinvestment Grant Program every year since the passing of HB 3194. The board is now considering:
- A $481,000 contract with the Pathfinder Network, which helps people impacted by the criminal justice system re-enter their communities, to provide peer support and mentoring services.
- A $723,000 contract with the Pathfinder Network for its Transition from Jail to Community program.
- Four contracts with Bridgeway Recovery Services totaling about $1 million for addiction treatment.
- A $233,000 contract with Liberty House for victim services
- A $233,000 contract with the Center for Hope and Safety for victim services
Commissioners will consider a $387,000 agreement with Chemeketa Community College to provide Student Opportunity for Achieving Results program services to people involved in community corrections through June 2025.
The board will consider adding $324,500 to a commercial lease agreement with Fairway Development Group, Inc. for the sheriff’s office’s North District Office in Woodburn, and extending the term date for five years. The station allows community corrections deputies to “supervise clients in the local area more efficiently,” according to the agenda.
They will also consider agreements with three cities to provide law enforcement services in their city limits through June 2024:
Also on the agenda
The board will consider renewing software licenses, maintenance and technical support needed for the county’s financial management system under a $257,000 contract with Oracle Support Services.
They will also consider a $4.8 million price agreement with Albina Asphalt to supply and apply liquid asphalt on Marion County roads through June 2026. The work is intended to extend the life of existing pavement, according to the agenda.
Commissioners will consider accepting a $349,000 grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to plant trees and shrubs in six county-owned parks that were damaged by the 2020 Beachie Creek wildfire: Minto, Packsaddle, Niagra, North Fork, Bear Creek and Salmon Falls parks.
Kelli Weese, economic development coordinator for Travel Salem, and Angie Villery, president and chief executive officer of Travel Salem, will also present the nonprofit’s fourth quarter report for 2022-23. The tourism bureau found Salem’s estimated economic impact from travel in 2022-23 to date is $782 million, compared with $676.3 million in 2020-21.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly reflect Adatto’s job title. Salem Reporter apologizes fo the error.
Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.
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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.