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