BOARDMAN - City Council members are frustrated with a system imposed by Morrow County for allocation of shared tippage fees from Finley Buttes Landfill.

The council, during its meeting Tuesday, spoke at length about the practice of mayors from Boardman, Irrigon, Heppner, Lexington and Ione, who are approaching the county in an effort to snatch a bigger piece of that pie.

Councilwoman Pam Docken said the system for disbursement of the fees must be restructured.

She suggested formation of a steering committee of representatives of all five towns to look into creation of a new process.

At stake are thousands of dollars used for a variety of public-improvement projects in towns throughout the county.

"I feel like we should have been told about this some more," Docken said. "I have a real concern. I don't agree how we're going about it."

Boardman Mayor Ed Glenn said a group of Morrow County mayors met with County Judge Terry Tallman on two occasions and plan on discussing the issue again today during the court's meeting in Heppner.

Glenn said the county has changed the way fees were originally appropriated in 1992.

In the original formula, Finley Buttes gave 10 percent of tippage fees to Morrow County for discretionary funds. Each of the five cities in Morrow County shared an equal portion of 50 percent of the fees received after deducting operating, administration and any emergency costs. Each city received an additional sum based on population, as defined by the ratio of registered voters, of the remaining 40 percent.

That changed in 1993 when the county signed a temporary emergency resolution due to "immediate county fiscal crisis." At that time, the majority of the fees were allocated to the county's general fund. The county established a needs- and-issues list and disperses funds to cities and projects.

While Docken said the money always has been doled out fairly through the needs-and-issues process, she still would prefer a steering committee look at a new and improved way of dispersing those dollars.

In 2006, slightly less than $133,000 was awarded for 18 projects, including three in Boardman totaling more than $22,500. Those projects included basketball courts at the city park, a city entrance beautification project and funding for the Boardman Historic Relocation Documentary project.

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