Sunday, April 29, 2018

Vote for Kari

Ballots are in the mail. Check the best option listed last. I guess if you file first, you are placed last on the ballot. I am so encouraged by the response of everyone I have met and by the online community. Please vote for Kari Mattson Fleisher. I will be our county's voice. I am a first generation county resident and have been a resident for 30+ years. NKN Valedictorian and Oregon 4-H Ambassador. As a property appraiser and working on property tax exemptions, I read and interpret Oregon State law on a daily basis. I have proposed solutions to our housing crisis by adopting/allowing for a multiple family housing tax exemption as well as implementing portions of the housing study. I have worked with all county departments as an AFSCME Union President. I have gained management and budget experience volunteering as a City Councilor for the City of Bay City and Budget Committee for the Port of Garibaldi and the City of Bay City. I can hit the ground running.  I am experienced, knowledgeable, and am passionate about our community which we call home.  I self financed my campaign to date because I am a public servant, represent every taxpayer, and do not want to show bias.  So far there is a lot of money being spent by others, show your support for Kari by voting for Kari Mattson Fleisher that your vote cannot be bought! I want the job and have every ability to meet the county's expectations.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Headlight Herald Candidate Q&A

I was asked some questions by Jordan Wolfe, Editor of the Tillamook Headlight Herald, below are my responses.

Kari Mattson Fleisher - Headlight Herald Candidate Questions

What is your age? 


What is your highest level of education and current career?

Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management. Property Appraiser 3, Tillamook County

Why are you running for county commissioner? (Max word count: 100)

I grew up in Nehalem and attended Neah-Kah-Nie School District graduating as Valedictorian. I spent a few years away, and chose to come back to the County that gave me so much as a youth. I want to set the county up for future success by diversifying our economy while supporting our farms, forests, and fisheries. I am dedicated, honest, and will get the job done. I will work with all stakeholders and fully research issues prior to making a decision. These are just a few reasons I am running for county commissioner.

What is the most pressing issue facing Tillamook County and what is your solution? (Max word count: 200)

The most pressing issue is housing at all income ranges both short term and long term. My solution begins with working alongside the taxing districts to implement a multi-family tax exemption program. The housing must be within a quarter mile of mass transit (bus routes) and be placed in areas designated by the city or county. This is a ten year tax exemption that would help off set up front development costs like permitting and system development charges by lowering the expenses during the first ten years of operations. This would incentivize private investment without impacting county funding. For short term housing, the String of Pearls Enterprise zone that allows for hotel/resorts. Tillamook zone is one of the few zones to offer this. It would allow a 3 year tax exemption. The last motels were built in Tillamook and Garibaldi using this incentive. We are in need of extended stay motels for business and families relocating. I would also work diligently with local non-profits and North West Housing Authority to develop more low income housing options as there are currently waiting lists.

How do you propose balancing the general fund? (Max word count: 150)

The general fund is balanced annually through budget process. The issue is that income is limited and expenses have been outpacing this. This has caused departments to cut positions and limit the ability to serve the public. This is not just a Tillamook County issue; it is a problem facing counties and cities throughout the state. I will work with the League of Oregon Cities, Association of Oregon Counties, and State leaders and representatives to work collaboratively to find a solution to increase funding. The County budgeted $3.7 million dollars for the 2016-17 fiscal year from timber revenue. This may become less with the uplisting of the marbled murrelet to endangered. I will work actively with the Oregon Department of Forestry to ensure the stability of this revenue. It would be my long-term goal to use timber revenue for capital improvement projects without impacting employees.

What is the county’s role in economic development and the lack of a strategic economic development plan? (Courtesy of Neal Lemery. Max word count: 200)

Tillamook County plays a huge role in economic development. It can incentivize private development through tax exemptions and zoning property to allow for development. The Commissioners have a seat on the board of the Economic Development Council of Tillamook County. I would support the EDC developing a strategic plan. Strategic plans identify a long term goal that takes public and private input and breaks it down into short term goals that are achievable. Plans are just plans. If not used, they will gather dust and can be a costly process. I would want to make sure any plan developed would be implemented in a thoughtful and accountable process so that progress can be tracked. Economic development is important but we need to have the infrastructure and capacity to grow. The first priority is to increase housing, which will increase construction jobs and the demand for lumber. This will increase our economy and give employers the ability to attract employees. The County’s infrastructure will also play a big role by ensuring that we have roads and bridges to keep our county’s products moving to the market. As your next commissioner, I would take no nonsense approach to finding solutions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Response to Tillamook County Pioneer

The Tillamook County Pioneer asked the candidates for a brief introduction and answer some questions,   Here is my response:

Kari Mattson Flesher is Tillamook County grown and a resident for over 30 years.  I attended Neah-Kah-Nie School District graduating as a Valedictorian. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Southern Oregon University.  I spent a few years away in Southern California and chose to return home. I have been a public servant working for Tillamook County for the last 14 years, served as AFSCME union president for several years, and volunteered on the Bay City Council and Port of Garibaldi Budget Committee.  I am dedicated to my job and will do the same as commissioner.

1.   What do you consider to be the top 3 most pressing issues facing the county?

The top three issues facing the county is the lack of housing both low income, short-term, and long term housing.  This is keeping our job growth flat and employers are having recruitment issues at all wage levels. The next priority is to stabilize the County’s general fund, expenses are outpacing revenue.  The third priority is find a long term funding solution to our road department after the expiration the road bond. This was just a bandaid and doing a 2” overlay on our roads alone is a $24 million expense.  We need to find a solution that visitors and non-residents share the financial burden.
2.   What makes you the best-qualified candidate to address those issues? And what are your solutions to these issues?

I am dedicated, collaborative, and am results driven.  I will work with other community leaders and state/federal agencies to find solutions.  I would look at the county zoning to identify areas located near transportation hubs for multi-family housing, implement the multi-family and vertical housing tax exemption programs to incentivize private investment.  For budget issues, I will work with the state and other county leaders to get the Oregon laws updated to reflect current and future needs possibly to include property taxes, forestry, tourism, lottery and transportation funding.
3.   What are the county commission’s current spending priorities? How, if at all, would you change them?

The biggest funding priority currently is keeping expenses down.  The road department has $500,000 annually to save for the restoration of the Three Capes Scenic Route over the next three fiscal years to keep the project on track.  I also would like to see less money spent on outside legal fees for contract negotiations, this brings down morale and causes uncertainty. I would rather see our County council more involved in legal processes in all departments.
4.   How do you assess the overall performance of county staff?  How will you ensure they provide the best value for taxpayer money?

Overall I believe the Tillamook County staff completes their jobs effectively, ethically, and provides excellent customer service.  I would want to ensure that there is inter-department communication that will allow for more contitunity. If there are issues to be addressed, I would make sure this is communicated quickly and seek a positive solution if at all possible.  Majority of county staff have the taxpayers in mind when approaching projects and contract negotiations not padding their pocketbook.
5.  How will you approach economic development in the county?

I have worked with the Tillamook County Enterprise Zone for the last 10 years and have had worked with numerous directors of the Economic Development Council over this time.  I would ensure that this is a priority and that the EDC promotes this and educates the new and existing businesses of this great incentive that encourages job growth. The zone is up for renewal in 2019.  Also there are many other state programs out there and I would bring representatives to the table.
6.  Tillamook County is 77 miles long – how are you going to serve the entire county?  How will you support/work with other municipalities/cities?

I have lived in all parts of the county from North, Central and South.  I have worked in all areas of the county as a property appraiser and understand there are unique qualities in each area.  As a public servant it is not my job to prioritize one area over another. I would work with each city and community to ensure that their priorities are known, acknowledged, and possible solutions found.  There are some inherent issues that the county may not be able to solve, but I would work with area leaders to find local solutions. These issues include deteriorating local access roads, lack of police coverage, etc.  The solution may not be palatable to all and come with it’s own challenges, but by working together and finding common ground I think a solution could be found.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tillamook Today Calendar

Tillamook Today Calendar

Please listen in tomorrow! 9:30-10:00am!

Headlight Herald Home and Garden Show

I will have a booth at the Home and Garden Show! Stop by and let's talk, I will have yard signs and buttons available Look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I am a supporter of the Library

I was that person that thought libraries were no longer relevant until I became a foster parent. It was a valuable resource to visit and check out many books and interactive books. Our favorites were Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver and Peter and the Wolf. It was a great weekly event to go get new books and go on another adventure. If you are on the road for long periods, they have plenty of books on CD at no cost. I support our library system. It is a community asset and many of the locations are owned by community non-profit organizations where the county pays for staffing and the contents, books, computers, etc. It is separately funded in the county budget, and the budget accounts for future building or mechanical replacement without going for more funding. I wish that the rest of the county was in the same boat. It is my goal if elected to remedy this.