Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope presented comments on behalf of AOC in support of additions of Policy Option Packages (POPs) to the proposed 2017-19 biennial budget of the Water Resources Department before the Joint Committee on Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources on April 13th. Commissioner Pope is Co-Chair of the AOC Water Policy Committee.
Even within the context of the enormous state revenue/budget shortfall, and the fact that AOC has placed primary importance on passage of an adequate transportation funding package and public revenue reform, the issue of water supply and availability remains critical to the development and quality of life of Oregon.
Commissioner Pope noted that the Oregon Legislative Assembly, after a long period of cuts to the Water Resources Department (WRD) budgets and inaction on the need for water development (putting Oregon well behind Washington State on water availability), sharply changed course in 2013 and continued the infusion of resources for water development. From 2013 to 2017, legislative appropriations for water resources studies, planning, and project-related activities (strongly supported by AOC and like-minded stakeholder partners) totaled nearly $30 million in lottery bonds, $40 million in general obligation bonds, and $3,345,000 in general funds.
The 2017-19 Governor’s Recommended Budget relies on a series of POPs to fill out the WRD budget. Without the adoption of the POPs listed below, the WRD budget will not sustain the momentum built in the previous two budget cycles.
Six POPs are of particular importance to counties and the