Umatilla County commissioners stand take stands for vets, surviving spouses of public safety workers

Umatilla County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the county courthouse, 216 S.E. Fourth St., Pendleton

Property tax relief is coming in Umatilla County for the surviving spouses of fire service personnel, police officers and reserve officers who died in the line of duty.

Senate Bill 1513, out of the 2016 Oregon Legislature, allows counties to exempt up to $250,000 of assessed value of each homestead a firefighter’s or police officer’s surviving spouse owns and occupies. Umatilla County commissioners plan to adopt the policy when they meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. in room 130 at the county courthouse, 216 S.E. Fourth St., Pendleton.

County attorney Doug Olsen said he was not aware of any property owners that would fall under the exemption. Any who do, though, can fill out a form in the county assessor’s office and make a claim.

Tax year 2017-18 is the first year someone can claim the exemption.

The county board also will consider an resolution showing its opposition to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s proposal to cut $10 million in funding to veterans services in the upcoming two-year state budget.

According to the resolution, which the Association of Oregon Counties drafted, Oregon receives $1.3 billion in federal funds for veteran non-health care benefits and $1.1 billion in health care benefits, both about double the amount from a decade ago. Yet “one in three of our veterans access their earned benefits and two-thirds of our veterans need assistance to effectively access their medical, disability, education and other federally funded benefits.”

The $10 million decrease to veteran services, according to the county’s language, also undermines the will of Oregon voters, who in November approved Ballot Measure 96, the law that dedicates 1.5 percent of state lottery proceeds for veterans services.

In other business, the board will consider an update to the joint management agreement between the county and the cities of Umatilla and Hermiston to allow Umatilla to oversee land use within the urban growth boundary. And county commissioners also will hold a public hearing on the co-adoption of Weston and Pilot Rock transportation system plans.

By: Phil Wright | | January 13, 2017 | East Oregonian | Original source

2017-02-09T18:59:44+00:00 January 13th, 2017|Categories: County News|Tags: |