Sprucing up the County Commons, hiring a new County Assessor and helping local non-profits to help the community
Lincoln County Commons upgrade
Lincoln County Commissioners noted this week that the voters approved funding for an upgrade to the Lincoln County Commons – historically referred to as the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. By passing a 1% boost to hotel and motel room taxes whose facilities lie within the unincorporated areas of the county makes it possible to begin replacing the tired and quite worn out buildings that exist today on the property, just east of Newport High School.
County commissioners engaged in wide ranging discussions that, in the end, produced no small amount of caution before any specific plans are made. It was pointed out that the higher room tax will only get the financial ball rolling with major construction happening five or more years down the road at the earliest. Within that time there will be minor spruce-ups of existing buildings but by no means will they be given major facelifts. Commissioners said they won’t invest money prolonging the usefulness of current facilities too far into the future because, they reminded everyone that the future calls for new facilities. But at the same time, they do want to have the current facilities still accommodate the annual county fair and other regular events for several more years as the whole planning process moves forward.
Commissioners said a great deal more discussion needs to happen before any timeline or progress benchmarks can even be acknowledged. They said they look forward to the expertise of former county public works director Jim Buisman and his take on specific ways to move the project forward. The opening shot on that discussion is likely to occur within the next couple of weeks.
Commissioners select an interim county assessor
With the recent announcement that long time County Assessor Rob Thomas is retiring county commissioners scrambled to figure out what to do next. But it appears the answer was right in front of them – Deputy Assessor Joe Davidson who has been working under Thomas for a number of years. The commissioners were impressed with Davidson’s application for the job and by his responses to their questions about the office.
Commissioners ended up appointing Davidson to fulfill the unexpired term of former Assessor Rob Thomas which ends at the end of the current year. It means that Davidson will have to run for the office in his own right this coming November.
Helping those helping the lower income families of Lincoln County
Noting the improving economy nationwide, as well as here in Lincoln County, county commissioners increased the amount of the annual awarding of grants to various non-profit agencies who do just that.
A total of nearly $170,000 was awarded between a number of groups whose names alone give an idea of the breadth and depth of their service to the financially stressed and low income. Those winning substantial grants included CASA of Lincoln County, Children’s Advocacy Center, Friends of the Newport Senior Activity Center 60+, Habitat for Humanity, Legal Aid, My Sister’s Place, North End Senior Solutions, Olalla Center, Meals on Wheels, Samaritan House, and Samaritan Senior Companion Program, Yachats Youth and Family and the Youth Development Coalition – among others.