It’s the largest infrastructure endeavor in county history, and officials are asking voters to approve another $110 million in new taxes to finish it off – we are of course, referring to the justice campus in Northeast Corvallis. 

With all that is being considered, CitySpeak will host county elected officials and staff as they field questions from the public, and our Editorial Board. Attendance is free. 

Those on hand will include: 

  • Xan Augerot, Benton County Commissioner 
  • Jef Van Arsdall, Benton County Sheriff 
  • Rick Crager, Chief Financial Officer for Benton County 
  • Nick Kurth, Project Manager for Benton County

What the County Has Already Funded 

The county has already borrowed, and secured state and federal grants to pay for a new courthouse, district attorney’s offices, and mental health crisis center building. The total cost of those projects is estimated to amount to about $80 million. Those funds will also pay for land the county acquired through eminent domain – the fair market value for that property is yet to be determined, but will likely amount to between $5 and $7 million.  

What Added Funding the County Wants Voters to Approve 

If passed, this ballot measure would put about $107 million into construction of a new county jail and sheriff’s office, and about $3 million towards mental health and homeless assistance services. It would fund these expenditures through the issuance of bonds that investors would buy, and that we local taxpayers would pay back with our tax dollars over a 30-year period. 

According to the county, voter approval would mean a property tax increase of 55 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, but that could increase if interest rates climb. They also say the cost to the typical homeowner would be $142 per year, based on the median assessed home value in Benton County of $258,596. Assessed values are generally lower than actual market values. Commercial properties would also be assessed, including low-income rental housing. 

CitySpeak Town Hall Slated for Wednesday, April 19 

Starting at 6:00 p.m., this forum is a unique opportunity to get your questions answered about the county’s justice facilities plans, and to become clearer on just what the county is seeking. Of course, you’re also welcome to just listen in for the conversation. As always, generous time is allotted for questions from the public. 

How to Access CitySpeak Forums 

The town hall will be live on The Advocate’s website or Facebook page, and other social media. If you can’t make the live event, the video will be available on The Advocate’s website and social media pages. 

How to Get a Question Submitted 

Viewers can submit questions before and during the forum. You can email, message us on social media, or just post your question on one of the social media posts of the event.  

CitySpeak forums are free to the public, and are co-presented by City Club of Corvallis and The Corvallis Advocate. Sponsors include Peak Sports and First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op. 

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