29 April 2014
Balancing the Books at City Hall
The Florence Budget Committee got the first look last night at a balanced $25.5-million budget for the coming year.
Erin Reynolds – “Things are looking good and we are beginning to be cautiously optimistic. We are seeing some of our revenues beginning to increase slightly over the prior year, whereas in the past several years when we were putting together the budget we’re looking at revenues decreasing. So that’s been nice. So we’ve been able to balance the budget again.”
The city is required by law to operate with a balanced budget, but Finance Director Erin Reynolds said the revenue picture this year certainly makes it easier to do. Property taxes, which make up less than ten percent of the city’s income, will be up slightly this year.
Erin Reynolds – “The county has given us the green light that assessed values are going up, so we have modestly budgeted for one-and-a-half percent increase in property tax revenues whereas the previous few years we’ve been budgeting a zero percent.”
Last night’s meeting was the official ‘rollout’ of the budget document… residents will have a chance to make comment to the Budget Committee May 12th.
Japanese Nuclear Accident Having Minimal Impact on Oregon Seafood
The level of radioactivity in Albacore tuna caught off the Oregon Coast has increased since the destruction of the Fukushima Dai Ichi power station in Japan three years ago.
But, says a study by Oregon State University scientists, that increase has been minute.
In fact, says researcher Delvan Neville, you would have to consume more than 700-thousand pounds of the fish just to match the amount of radiation the average person is exposed to in everyday life through cosmic rays, x-rays and other natural sources.
Neville says the trace levels found in locally caught tuna are “too small to be a realistic concern”.
Living With Bears
The black bears have been more active in the past few months. Something many area residents have found out the hard way after having to pick up the contents of trash cans that have been scattered through the neighborhood.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists say they’ve been handling plenty of calls on the west side of the Cascades over the past several weeks. Most of them are calls about the after effects of human-bear contact; but some are tales of “close encounters”.
Just last week, police in Oakridge closed down a street there after a marauding bear was frightened and climbed a tree. Brian Wolfer, a game biologist in Springfield said the bear eventually came down the tree and left on its own, but he’s concerned it may return, lured by the smell of human food waste, garbage and pet foods. Wolfer says bears usually rely on fresh growth in the spring, but can become habituated to food in residential areas. When that happens, it can be a death sentence for the bear.