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Public can testify on uses for Gain Share funds


The public will have an opportunity to testify on how the Washington County Commission spends its Gain Share money at a supplemental budget hearing on Nov. 26.

The commission scheduled the hearing Tuesday morning during a work session on possible projects to fund with the money, which the state of Oregon pays to county for waiving property taxes to encourage businesses to create and retain jobs.

County staff presented possible projects totaling $13.9 million in the next fiscal year. They included the early stages of a new multi-use building at the Washington County Fairgrounds, seismic improvements to county buildings, information and technology equipment purchases, bike and pedestrian transportation improvements and grants to nonprofit organizations such as the Washington County Museum.

The county expects to receive approximately $111 million in Gain Share funds over six years, including the current fiscal years. Future funding depends on the Oregon Legislature retaining the program in its current form, however. Some legislators discussed reducing the payments from 50 percent of state income taxes generated by the news and retained jobs during the 2013 session. No changes were ultimately made, however.

The hearing will be included in the weekly meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Public Services Building.