CURRY COMMISSIONERS TAKE STAND ON GAS PRICES

September 19, 2001 12:00 am

The Curry County commissioners are sending a letter to the State Attorney General Hardy Meyers encouraging him to investigate gas pricing policies in the South Coast region.

During Mondays commission meeting, Commissioner Marlyn Schafer said concern surfaced again over the high gas prices on the South Coast after last weeks terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

The Pilot was full of letters on Saturday about the gas prices, she said. And we have received e-mails expressing concern about the prices going up last week.

We received a lot of complaints from Brookings, but as a county commission we are powerless to do anything. We would love to be able to do something, but cant.

Schafer said that Myers office would have to take the lead on reviewing gas pricing policies.

We have been informed that the attorney general is investigating unfair price increases across the state, she said.

This is the appropriate place to go.

Commissioner Lucie La Bont suggested another avenue to address the issue.

We should write (Oregon) Sen. Ron Wyden to review this issue, she said. Im hearing concerns in the north county too.

Wyden has been instrumental in investigating gas price fixing in the West.

Schafer felt that at this time, with Myers involved in an investigation, his office was the proper contact.

Im not sure (writing Wyden) is the appropriate thing to do, she said. The attorney general has the power in the state to address the gas price issue.

La Bont suggested that the commission draft a letter to Myers encouraging him to investigate the Curry County gas price situation.

Commissioner Rachelle Schaaf said the letter should ask Myers office to not only investigate the recent gas price hike, but the long-term issue of high gas prices in the county.

There are generally higher prices on the South Coast, she said. We need to ask the attorney general to investigate that issue also.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to send Myers a letter expressing their concern. La Bont voted against the motion because she wanted to review the actual letter before approving it.

Curry County residents who want to file a complaint with the attorney generals office can do so by calling toll free at (877) 877-9392 or accessing the Oregon Department of Justice website at http://www.doj.state.or.us.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously approved county participation in the 2002 Multiple Airport Layout Plan and Report Project.

According to La Bont, the project will allow the county to update the Brookings Airport master plan, which has not been done since 1991.

The $50,000 cost for the project is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at 90 percent, with the county responsible for coming up with the additional 10 percent, or $5,000, La Bont said.

This is a way the FAA has to lump several of these projects together to save money, she said. We already have $3,000 in current grant appropriations for the project, so we only need to come up with another $2,000.

I feel the county should be able to come up with that money, maybe through our economic development board.

She suggested other sources might include the countys contingency fund or the Rural Investment Board.

Schafer agreed, stating that the economic development board was probably the best source for the funds, and that she would approach them about doing so.

La Bont stressed the urgency of sending in a letter of acceptance to the Oregon Department of Aviation to take advantage of the program.

We need to make a commitment today or we could lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she said. If we can approve this today, I know we can find the $2,000.

Schaaf agreed.

We will just have to find the money somewhere, she said. I think we should move ahead with the letter accepting our participation in the project.

The commissioners extended the deadline for applications to the Board of Property Tax Appeals to noon on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Schafer said the extension was necessary as only one application had been received to date.

The commission also announced it was taking applications for two vacancies on the Curry County Fair Board.

Applications for those positions will also be taken until noon on Oct. 3.

An increase in the mileage reimbursement for county employees from 20 cents per mile to 25 cents per mile, which was agreed upon during recent union negotiations, was extended to non-represented county employees.

The commission will next meet at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8 in the commission chambers at Gold Beach instead of on Oct. 1, because of a scheduling conflict.