COOS BAY -- The Waterfront Development Partnership will slice off a chunk of its community service fee revenues to support the Coos County Sheriff's Office and Jail.
County Commissioner Bob Main made a case at the WDP work group's Monday meeting for the financially strapped departments, noting that about half of the county's $22.9 million general fund is needed to keep the sheriff's office and jail operational.
Originally, the overarching Community Enhancement Plan allotted 25 percent of Jordan Cove's proposed community service fee payments to a waterfront and economic development organization, now called the WDP. But the work group decided Monday that each year for the first four years, 3 percent of Jordan Cove's $12 million-a-year payments would be set aside as a public safety grant for the county.
As the CEP is constructed right now, the county will already get 9.25 percent of the total community service fees since it is a taxing district on the North Spit. That amounts to about $1.11 million a year for the first four years of fixed payments.
This extra 3 percent would throw another $360,000 a year into county coffers.
Main said the county may still have to start billing for jail services, though, if the Secure Rural Schools payments come to a halt and if Sen. Ron Wyden's O&C bill doesn't include provisions for revenue for the 18 O&C counties. The jail might also need to reduce beds, kicking even more offenders immediately back onto the streets. The jail houses at least 90 people every day, Main said.
The county got about $2 million in SRS funds last year, and sent $5 million from the County Forest Fund to sheriff and jail, but the timber revenue "we had stockpiled is running out."
"We'll use up most if not all of the forestry fund for 2015-2016," Main said. "In 2016-2017, it's going to be looking somewhat grim."
In the chance that O&C "does come through," the county wouldn't need that extra 3 percent, said Oregon International Port of Coos Bay CEO David Koch, so those funds could stay with the partnership.
The work group is still deciding how the partnership should split its allocated community service fees between disbursement and investment, as well as finalizing its intergovernmental agreement. The group will present its recommendations thus far to the CEP work group at its meeting 1 p.m. Aug. 25 in Coos Bay City Council chambers.