The Columbia County Board of Commissioners will offer residents opportunities to comment about the county’s newest proposed $68,925,563 budget during two public hearings this month.
The first public hearing takes place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, at the Columbia County Courthouse, 230 Strand St. in St. Helens. Budgets for the County Extension Service/4H, the Meadowview Lighting District and the Columbia County Development Agency will also be reviewed at the meeting
The second public hearing takes place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at the County’s CC Rider Transit Center, 207 West B St. in Rainier. Residents are encouraged to view the proposed budget, which is available at the County Courthouse, or online at tinyurl.com/y39c6632.
After the Rainier hearing, which is expected to last a half hour, the commissioners will host one of their popular “Chat with the Commissioners” events at El Tapatio, 117 W A St. in Rainier. “Chat with the Commissioners” gives residents, business owners and others interested in local government the opportunity to talk with county leaders about any subject that they feel is important. Appetizers will be served at the open house.
The Budget Breakdown
The proposed FY20 budget that covers county operations July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 is nearly $3.9 million higher than last year’s operating budget and maintains current service levels. According to a release from Columbia County, the primary reason for the increase is inflation and an increase in capital outlay for the Public Works Fund. The General Fund increased approximately $1.9 million for inflation.
More than one-fourth (27 percent) is allocated to public safety functions. The General Fund makes up more than 35 percent of the total budget and includes a variety of general government services such as land use planning, public safety services including the Sheriff's Office patrol and the county’s emergency management, and county-wide support services such as Information Technology and Human Resources.
The Road Fund and the Jail Operations Fund each have budgets totaling more than $13.7 million and $8.3 million respectively and combined make up 34 percent of the county's FY2019-20 operational footprint.
Commissioners will consider public comment taken at the hearings before voting to adopt the budget at the board’s 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, weekly meeting at the Columbia County Courthouse, 230 Strand St., in St. Helens.
For more information, call 503-397-4322.