BEND, OR -- The Commissioners shared their perspectives last night on the State of Deschutes County.
Tammy Baney, Phil Henderson, and Tony DeBone discussed marijuana regulations, budget highlights, managing for growth, capital projects, and the future of solid waste. DeBone says they've done some hard work through the Great Recession, and the future looks bright. "Deschutes County is dialed in, it has been dialed in for a long time. The tax rate, the services, all the employees, the professionalism. I am proud to represent the citizens and to work with all the staff in Deschutes County."
Commissioner Henderson says he'd had several careers before running for office, and he did it because he wanted to teach his children that civic involvement is important. "We're only as good as the people who are involved in our government. And, I worry a lot. How do you pass on the civic culture that has made our country what it is, our state what it is, our community what it is, and so you all need to be involved in this thing."
Commissioner Baney says one reason we're going strong now is because Deschutes County partnered with Economic Development for Central Oregon during the Great Recession. They took an existing fund from HUD and added money when the County had little to spare. "And the hope was to be able to retain and attract businesses during one of the most dire times of our history." The program created nearly 1,300 jobs by offering loans to businesses that could be turned into grants. "They make a commitment of staying, and we make a commitment of funding, and we create jobs together." Tony DeBone said the program not only kept businesses in the area, it allowed the County to effectively manage the growth they knew would come as a result of its success.
All three commissioners had a point of pride -- for Henderson it was the reduction of property taxes by .06 per $1,000 assessed value over the last two years, Baney expressed satisfaction with the Commissioners' creative and successful attempts to build the economy and maintain growth, and DeBone says they've responsibly managed the rapid change of the area with an eye toward whatever comes next.
The event was hosted at 10 Barrel East by the Bend Chamber.