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Under the American Rescue Plan Act (a.k.a. the 2021 COVID Relief Bill recently passed/signed into law), Curry County is to receive $4.45 million. This is in addition to Brookings getting $1.32 million, Gold Beach getting $470,000 and Port Orford's $240,000. Your government leaders can spend the money pretty much any way they like, except for two things: It can’t go to fund pension plans, and it can’t be used to pay for tax cuts.

But like all things government, there are loopholes. As example, if the county repairs roads with pandemic relief funds, it will free up money for other purposes — e.g., funding pensions. Front page of the Curry Pilot March 5 e-edition reports that the county is looking at implementing a sales tax, citing that "the county is looking at losing up to $1 million in revenue in the next fiscal year." Curry County voters historically vote down tax increases and/or new taxes in part because there is no visibility or accountability for how these monies will actually be used. Please demand your commissioners provide greater visibility and accountability into the use of COVID relief funds before contemplating new or increased taxes.

Dave Johnston

Gold Beach

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