Talks Trash: It’s the final days of the Benton County Talks Trash work group, they only have two more meetings on the books – and the online link for public comment expires March 20.
The work group will release a final report on April 3.
Next week the subcommittee will be wrapping up draft 5 which will then be released for review from the public with a survey. According to Nichols the results of the survey will be used to formulate draft 6.
Several commissioners asked for an extended public comment period.
Community Development Director Darren Nichols said, “Well, the first thing I would say is what would be more helpful for the board, what we have envisioned as an open comment period is we would combine all public comments that come in during this time period and then we would bundle them at the time the final report is given.”
That Won’t be the End of It: “There will be an open house on April 4 for community members where we will present the final draft and then compile all of the public comments to present to the board and make any changes based on the comments received,” said Nichols.
And after that, per commissioner discussion, the public comment period will be open until May 26. According to Nichols, there will be several communications that the county will be sending out over the next week to community members in order to get the word out.
You can find more information about upcoming meetings, participation, and supporting documents at Community Development website.
Wyse Seeks Trash Talk Budget Clarity: There were two agenda items for the Trash Talks workgroup at the March 7 Benton County Board of Commissioners meeting. The first being the public comment period time frame and the second was the elusive budget for this project.
“We asked for an extended budget amount, and we hit that mid-February and we are passed that budget again. We anticipate coming back to you with a final request in order to get this project passed the finish line,” said Darren Nichols. “I know community members have expressed concern that this project has gone on long enough and I don’t think it’s been long enough.”
At the time of the meeting the budget had not been released to the public, so Commissioner Nancy Wyse asked to have it released to ‘ease the public’s mind’. Nichols agreed and stated that the workgroup would be releasing an updated budget for the public to review in the coming weeks.
“We are averaging 2-3% of the annual income from the landfill for this project. I encourage you to keep making this investment and our community needs it,” said Nichols.
At the March 21 meeting a revised budget will be presented to the commissioners for final approval ahead of the April 3 release date for the final report for the project.
Corvallis Housing Grant: The Benton County Board of Commissioners issued a letter of support for the Corvallis Housing First’s Grant application to Oregon Housing and Community Services for funding to build a low-income housing development.
The grant will go towards funding a 46-unit affordable housing development at Third Street Commons. This project is part of the city’s effort to address the ongoing houselessness issue.
“Homelessness in Benton County is increasing. Post-pandemic impacts on vulnerable people, steady upward trends in real estate costs, and gaps in critical support systems contribute to this increase,” said Andrea Myhre, Executive Director Corvallis Housing First. “Benton County is committed to improvements in our local support systems that contribute to addressing homelessness. Corvallis Housing First is an essential partner in this significant effort to impact our community positively.”
By Jennifer Williams