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Proposed budget focuses on capital improvements

A $22.29 million budget the Brookings Budget Committee approved this week will take a big bite out of capital improvement needs and fund other projects more proactively.

The city council will discuss the budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 at a meeting next month.

The biggest change city residents will see is a 1-percent increase in both the water and sewer rates, which equates to an 81-cent increase to consumers. Homeowners should also expect to see a 1- to 2-percent increase in both 2016 and 2017 in the wastewater portion of the bills.

“It’s quite remarkable that it’s only 1 percent, given Coos-Curry Electric is increasing rates 9 percent,” said City Manager Gary Milliman at a budget hearing last week. “We’re a big consumer, particularly the sewer plant — that’s a huge energy consumer. The public works department has done a great job of decreasing our energy consumption.”


Security efforts of Port paying off

The Port of Brookings Harbor has recently taken strides to ensure the safety of people and property after many visitors voiced concern about the lack of consistent law enforcement and security.

“Safety and crime are down here in the port,” said Manager Ted Fitzgerald. “We’ve taken steps to reassure people.”

One of the port’s major steps to address crime was to hire a private security company, Knight Security, to patrol the area. Initially used to keep an eye on the port during the evenings, the company has now expanded its services to daytime patrol as well.


The waving, riding man

Ira Tozer parks his scooter along Highway 101 in Brookings where he smiles, waves and gives thumbs up to passing motorists. Photo by Grant Fraley

Passing through the north end of Brookings, it’s hard not to notice Ira Tozer. He’s the one waving at cars as they go past — with a big, beaming smile on his face. 

Parked at the corner of Highway 101 and Parkview Drive, Tozer sits on a bright blue scooter adorned with ribbons and flags, grinning and waving excitedly at passersby. He tips his hat at some, and throws a salute to all police officers.

Tozer, 72, became a community icon about 15 years ago, when he started walking up and down Highway 101. Though hip troubles prevent him from walking and waving like he used to, Tozer continues to spread positive energy.


Gold Beach seeks votes to buy new fire truck

Gold Beach residents will have a chance to vote for the third time on the passage of a levy to fund the purchase of a new fire truck for their fire department.

The May 19 ballot includes Measure 8-82, which proposes to collect $60,000 per year over seven years, or $0.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value. 

If approved, the money collected would accrue in a reserve fund over seven years. The city of Gold Beach expects to spend $550,000 to $700,000 to buy a new fire truck on June 30, 2023. 


Four running for Brookings library board

The Chetco Community Library District has four candidates vying for two positions in the May 19 election. 

Candidates have identified a range of issues for this election, including increasing services and library capacity, lowering library taxes, and accessibility to the public. 

In addition to lending books, DVDs, magazines and many other items, the library also provides technology services including wi-fi, computer access and printer use to all cardholders. The library collects about $588,000 in taxes annually and has a projected expense budget of $800,000.


4 vie for seats on health board

Four of five seats on the Curry Health District board are up for election May 19, with only one incumbent opting out of the race and only one seat running uncontested.

Ballots will be mailed to voters beginning April 29.

The health district is comprised of the north end of Curry County, from the Pistol River area north and east to the border near Agness and north toward the Coos County line.

The district has a $35.8 million budget for the fiscal year that ends July 30.


City: Enough water for Chetco River development

The Brookings City Council Monday unanimously agreed with city planning staff that there is enough water to supply a proposed multi-unit residential development on a riverfront piece of property about a mile up the north bank of the Chetco River.

LUBA asked the city to answer question in more detail after a local environmental group complained that the project would adversely affect an estuary there, reduce water capacity and pressure for the rest of the city and harm salmon habitat.


Emotions flare during public discussion about levy

A contentious panel discussion about Ballot Measure 8-81 at Thursday’s Law Enforcement Night in Brookings had members of both the panel and the audience exchanging heated comments about the proposed law levy.

However, it was also an opportunity for the community to hear the opinions of local representatives on both sides of the levy issue, and to voice their own questions, concerns and opinions.


Port of Brookings Harbor: Four vie for two positions

Two positions on the Port of Brookings Harbor port commission are up for contest in this May’s election. Position 2 will see incumbent Jim Relaford face off against Roger Thompson. Skip Watwood will challenge incumbent Roy Davis for Position 3. 

The volunteer commissioners oversee the port district, which extends from Pistol River to the California border and includes about 14,000 citizens. 

This year, the port worked with an income budget of about $3.8 million. Candidates have identified several key issues facing the port, including the possibility of annexation and sale of port property, economic development and increasing tourism.


Brookings-Harbor School District: Newcomers challenge incumbents

Two newcomers are challenging two incumbents for their positions on the Brookings-Harbor School District.

Incumbent Bruce Raleigh and John Noland are vying for Position 1, and Mona Chandler is challenging incumbent Sue Gold for Position 3. 

The school board has spent the last year tackling a variety of problems, including finding a new superintendent, setting up a new Human Resources program, and implementing a variety of systems to help the district run more smoothly. 

This year, the board was working with a general fund of about $15 million. The candidates said they will endeavor to maintain forward momentum for the district, provide more opportunities for students, and increase the graduation rate.


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