Vet tax exemption

Veterans may qualify for a property tax exemption for as much as $26,434 of the assessed value of their owner-occupied residence — and might not even know it, said County Assessor Jim Kolen.

To qualify, veterans must have been members of the U.S. armed forces, discharged or released under honorable conditions, own and live on the property for which they will receive the property tax exemption and not make a gross income of 185 percent of poverty levels. The veteran must also be certified by the Veterans Administration as having a 40 percent or more service- or non-service-connected disability.

Surviving spouses who have not remarried also qualify, even if the veteran was not disabled.

Veterans may receive a disability certification from their physician rather than the Veterans Administration.

Applications must be filed annually and are available at the Curry County Assessor’s office in Gold Beach. They must be obtained by April 1.

Persons needing assistance, applications or information should contact Amy Gaddis-Parker at 541-247-3294 or 1-800-242-7601.

Phones, internet down

Charter’s internet and phone systems at Curry Medical Center’s scheduling office on Hemlock Street in Brookings were down all last week, forcing employees to relocate from offices on Hemlock Street to the Fifth Street office to take calls.

“Problems … were resolved by a creative work-around solution by Curry Health Network’s IT staff,” said Curry Health Network’s Chief Information Officer Kristina Martin.

“Unfortunately the vendor’s fiber connection has been unstable, therefore necessitating scheduling staff to relocate to the medical center,” Martin said. “The relocation also caused phone system forwarding issues, which caused some callers to enter into a message loop, prohibiting them from reaching the department they dialed.”

Charter Communications, which provides the service for the health network, was able to repair the fiber optic system Monday and employees returned to their regular offices.

Curry Health Network officials said they apologized for the inconvenience.

Second-trimester taxes

Statements for second-trimester property tax payments have been mailed, Curry County Assessor and Tax Collector Jim Kolen announced this week.

The due date is Feb. 15, and payments must be made or postmarked by that due date to avoid interest charges.

A third-trimester property tax statement will be mailed in April. Owners wishing to make full payment of the remaining property tax amount can contact the tax collector’s office at 541-247-3305. Property owners who want a printed receipt should send a self-addressed stamped envelope with their payment.

Payments can be mailed to the Curry County Tax Collector, 94235 Moore St., Suite 222, Gold Beach, OR 97444, or paid in person at the assessor and tax collector’s office in the Curry County Courthouse Annex at 94235 Moore St. in Gold Beach.

The tax office is usually open Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and will be open that Friday.

Property owners can also make online tax payments through the Curry County website at: www.co.curry.or.us. Follow the link for Curry County Property Tax Payments. There is a 2.5 percent fee for using a credit card payment and a $3.95 fee for making a Visa debit payment. Property owners also have the option of calling 1-844-399-5263 to make credit card payments by phone.

Text to 911

The Curry County Sheriff and the Brookings Police Department dispatch centers now have Text-to-911 capability, enabling those to call for help when they don’t have a cell phone signal.

“Texting to 911 does not replace voice calls to 911, and should only be used when you are unable to make a voice call,” Sheriff John Ward said. “The widely used, Text-to-911 catchphrase is, ‘Call if you can, text if you can’t.’”

Dispatchers are able to gather more information faster in voice calls.

Text messages will be routed to the nearest dispatch center, based on cellular tower locations. If needed, the text will be re-rerouted to the correct dispatch center to ensure the proper emergency responders are sent to the scene.

Text-to-911 is not yet available in all of Oregon or nationwide, Ward noted, so attempts to text 911 outside Curry County will result in a ‘bounce back’ message directing callers to make a voice call.

For more information on Text-to-911 and where it is available, visit http://www.nwtext911.info/.

Deferred tax program

Senior and disabled citizens might be eligible for a property tax deferral program offered by the state of Oregon, Curry County Assessor Jim Kolen reported this week.

In this program, the state pays the property taxes for qualified applicants. Taxes must be paid back to the state, with 6 percent interest, when the property changes ownership or the owner moves.

Property owners must meet the following requirements to qualify for the property tax deferral:

Senior Citizens — Must be 62 years old by April 15. Disabled Citizens — At least one joint property owner needs to qualify as an individual with disabilities, by either being eligible to receive or be receiving federal Social Security disability benefits due to disability or blindness.

An applicant’s net worth must be below $500,000 and the real market value of the property is limited to the median real market for single-family dwellings in the county and by the number of years the applicant has continually owned and lived in the home. First time applicants must have had a total household income of less than $45,500 in 2019.

Applications must be filed with Kolen’s office by April 15 Applications, information or assistance is available by calling Amy Gaddis-Parker at the Curry County Assessor’s office, 541-247-3294 or 1-800-242-7601.

CTR route times change

After about 20 years of collecting trash in the dark, Curry Transfer and Recycling driver Wade Christie gets to see what’s going on by the light of day.

Citing customer demand and community safety, the trash and recycling collection company will change the hours its drivers operate in the Brookings and Harbor areas, office manager Candie Wilk said this week.

Beginning Feb. 4, the Brookings-Harbor route begins at 5 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. or whenever the work is done, CTR spokesman Luke Pyke told the Brookings City Council. Customers are still asked to put their carts out by the curb the night before.

The change will affect only residential customers, and only those in Brookings and Harbor — except those served on Mondays between North and South Bank Chetco River Roads and the Cape Ferrelo area.

All areas deemed to be “sensitive congested areas,” primarily school zones, will be served before 7 a.m. or while students are in class.

“There are pros and cons to both a graveyard shift or a day shift,” Wilke said. “Safety has always been our main concern. We feel with our current trucks and equipment we can operate during the day without compromising safety.”

Recycling is already picked up in daylight hours, and for years, customers have asked the company to reconsider its collection times.

For the next few weeks, times will fluctuate until it is determined which routes are safest, Wilk said.

Customers will also receive notification by phone and email.

“That’ll make a lot of folks happy,” said Brookings Mayor Jake Pieper. “This issue comes up a couple times a year. I hope it works.”

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