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Umatilla County starts process for ag extension taxing district

District proponents to again seek support from city of Umatilla
Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on November 1, 2017 4:09PM


Umatilla County Board of Commissioners kicked off the process to form a new tax district for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Commissioners Larry Givens and Bill Elfering voted Wednesday morning in Pendleton in favor of initiating the formation of the district, which includes two public hearings. Commissioner George Murdock is out of town.

Eleven of 12 cities in the county passed resolutions putting the Oregon State University Extension Service district to voters. Umatilla is the lone hold out.

Claire Sponseller, county leader with OSU Extension, told commissioners the citizens’ group in favor of the district will talk again to the Umatilla City Council during its meeting Tuesday night.

Staff at Umatilla city hall referred questions about the public meeting to City Manager Russ Pelleberg, who did not immediately return a call.

County counsel Doug Olsen said the board would hold the first public hearing during its meeting in early December and the second in January, then the board would decide to place the matter on the May ballot to give voters the final determination.

County commissioners also voted to transfer a portion of West Highland Avenue to the city of Hermiston.

Matt Kenny with county public works told the board the transfer covers a 2,000-foot stretch of West Highland between Southwest 11th and 15th streets. New development is occurring along the road, according to Kenny and Public Works Director Tom Fellows, and the city wants the construction of curbs, gutters and sidewalk to meet city standards. The county does not have those standards, nor does the county have the equipment to maintain those structures.

And the board voted to waive the $2,500 planning fee for Citizens TV, the nonprofit organizations that provides over-the-air TV transmission from a tower on Basket Mountain Road outside Weston.

Citizens TV has to upgrade the tower, and the county charges $2,500 for a land use decision on towers. Olsen said the county waived this fee in the past for similar organizations.



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