Government: City Mulls Livability Levy, Low Income Housing Tax Breaks Make Their Rounds, County Justice Facilities Deliberations Continue

Levy Restructuring: The Corvallis City Council will look at a proposal from city staff that would restructure the levy for both parks and recreation and social services funding, as well as reviewing various options for the levy rate. 

In a memo to the council from Finance Director Ryan Seidl, staff is presenting further information as requested and is now specifically seeking direction regarding the Local Option Levy, including: 1) Direction on structure of the levy; and 2) Direction on the rate of the levy. 

“The City has had a local option levy in place since 2011 to fund a variety of services including library, parks, recreation, public safety, community development, and social services,” said Siedl. “Local option levies are a tool that cities use to increase revenue beyond what the city normally collects through its permanent tax rate, as the cost to provide services typically outpaces the growth of the permanent tax base. Continued levy funding is essential to maintaining current service levels.” 

At a work session on Nov. 17, 2022, the city council proposed placing the local option levy renewal on the November 2023 ballot, in addition to pursuing another five-year renewal.  

The current rate is $1.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value, and revenue supports Social Services Grants ($360,000), the Library Department (51.9%) and the Parks & Recreation Department (48.1%). 

The city council will look at a proposal to restructure the local levy option at a work session on Feb. 9. Click here for meeting materials and to attend.  

Law Enforcement Facilities Spending: Benton County Board of Commissioners will continue final decision making ahead of an upcoming May ballot measure for the Justice System Improvement Program.  

This week, the Commissioners will be finalizing the final title and project summary language for the project. Project officials Vance Croney and JSIP Manager Nick Kurth will go before the commissioners at the upcoming meeting on Feb. 7.  

They will also look at a contract agreement with Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) Services for the Courthouse/District Attorney office portion of the project to Hoffman Construction. Click here for meeting materials or to attend the Feb. 7 meeting 

Low Income Housing: Also at the Feb. 7 meeting, Commissioners will consider revenue implications of tax breaks for low-income housing developments. The Corvallis School Board at their 6:30 pm, Feb. 9 meeting will be doing the same. 

As The Advocate prior reported, the Corvallis City Council is looking to initiate the tax breaks as motivator for low-income housing projects, but they need 51% of the area taxing districts to agree.  

Meeting information for Benton County Commissioners is captioned above. For the upcoming School Board meeting, click here for materials and attendance. 

By: Jennifer Williams  

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