The story: The Philomath City Council accepted applications to fill a vacant position until this past Wednesday. (“Council seat deadline Nov. 27,” Nov. 20 edition, page A2). The seat was formerly held by Marion Dark, who resigned because of a move out of the city.
The latest: Three citizens submitted applications to be considered for a seat on the City Council — Catherine Biscoe, Matthew Lehman and Doug Nelson.
Lehman and Nelson are trying to get on the City Council for the second time this year with both applying for the vacancy created when Terry Weiss resigned. The council ultimately appointed Ruth Causey for the seat.
Biscoe serves on the city’s budget committee, regularly shares views during the public comments period at meetings and has been involved in an active appeal that challenges an annexation of 19.68 acres into the city. She serves as the Philomath Community Gleaners program manager at Philomath Community Services.
Lehman has served on the city’s budget committee and has been actively involved with the Philomath Youth Activities Club. He also served his community while living in Corvallis prior to moving to Philomath.
Nelson served on the Lane County Board of Appeals and has a background as a real estate appraiser, which has included experience with land-use issues at the state and federal levels.
The City Council will interview candidates and plans to make a decision at its Dec. 9 meeting.
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The story: Benton County voters passed Measure 2-124 by a comfortable 60.97% to 39.03% margin, according to unofficial returns from the Benton County Elections Office. (“Benton County voters approve 911 district,” Nov. 7, PhilomathExpress.com). District backers say the increase is critical to improving countywide emergency response. The industry standard for emergency dispatch service is to get first responders en route to a call within 60 seconds 90% of the time.
The latest: Philomath voters supported Measure 2-124, the Nov. 5 ballot item that establishes a Benton County 911 emergency dispatch service taxing district, based on precinct results that were released last week by the Benton County Elections Office.
In the city of Philomath (Precinct 10), 664 voters marked yes for 60.1% compared to 441 no votes for 39.9%. In all, 1,105 votes were cast in the precinct.
In the area that covers rural Philomath (Precinct 21), the outcome was much closer with 92 voting yes (52.3%) and 84 turning in no votes (47.7%). The precinct included 176 ballots cast.
The measure passed overall with 61.39% of voters favoring it and 38.61% voting no. Countywide the voter turnout was 33.83%. Seventeen of the 22 precincts favored the 911 district, with no votes coming from Monroe (Precinct 13), Alsea (Precinct 14), Albany rural (Precinct 18), Monroe rural (Precinct 20) and Adair rural (Precinct 22). Monroe rural turned in the highest no percentage, 63.72%.
The new district will be paid for with property tax increases and will allow the current dispatch center at the law enforcement building in Corvallis to increase from 17 employees to 28.
The measure authorizes a rate of 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, but officials plan to start the district at 45 cents, with the higher rate available if growth demands it. At 45 cents per $1,000 the owner of a $350,000 home will pay an additional $157.56 per year in property taxes. At the full rate of 65 cents, the annual tab would be $227.52 for the same $350,000 home. The measure will raise $3.7 million per year.
— Philomath Express