Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon's Secretary of State has crunched fiscal data for the state's 36 counties, spotlighting eight in particular as being at risk.

Secretary of State Kate Brown says most of the information has been a matter of public record, but she felt it was important for policy makers to be able to compare data on tax rates, debt ratios, and personal income, among other factors.

The report identifies eight counties as deserving close attention. They are: Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, and Polk Counties.

Brown says the intent is also to spur conversation about how counties in trouble can continue to function.

"It puts the next question on the table. What services do we want county governments to deliver. How are we going to collaborate with the state in order to provide those services? And how do we pay for those services?"

The report's conclusions will come as no surprise to the eight counties deemed at risk. All were, to some extent, dependent on federal timber payments. Many are making deep budget cuts as those payments come to an end.

The state continues to negotiate with some Southern Oregon counties that are unable to meet state mandates for public safety and other services.

http://www.sos.state.or.us/audits/pages/state_audits/year/2012.html

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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