Oregon Governor Tina Kotek Warns of Veto Threat Over Funding Allocation to Specific Cities

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek Warns of Veto Threat Over Funding Allocation to Specific Cities

When lawmakers in the state agreed to send almost $100 million straight to 44 cities across the state to fix up their infrastructure, Gov. Tina Kotek made it clear that the money had to be used to build homes within five years.

She made it clear on Monday that she is ready to refuse to fund seven projects unless it is clear that they will make room for new homes.

Kotek said in a statement, “The legislative intent of this funding is to support shovel-ready projects that are essential for building new homes.” “Last week, my office started going over each of the projects to make sure they met the requirements for scope, cost, timeline, feasibility, and how they related to building homes and keeping them affordable.”

Kotek wants more information about seven specific $14 million building projects. She also wants to know more about a $2 million grant that has been set aside for the Old Town Community Association to help with the Made in Old Town growth project.

These projects were picked by lawmakers from all over the state, from Medford to Madras and Monmouth. They will get money straight for storm and wastewater projects.

Rep. David Gomberg, D-Otis, led the effort and said he was “a little bit surprised” by the notice of veto from the governor.

He said on Monday, “These projects are all housing, nothing but housing.” “The governor’s office and I are working together to better understand her concerns and find ways to address them.”

Gomberg said that each job was judged by the question, “Who is ready to shovel?” Who has put their own money into the area? Which rate of return is the best?”

In her original housing plan, Gov. Tina Kotek considered setting up a way for cities to ask the state for money from a certain fund. In order to save money, lawmakers cut back on government agencies and gave money straight to cities. That was one part of a $376 million housing plan that was passed by the legislature last time.

Gomberg said that giving money directly will help build more homes faster.

“We suggested direct grants because these projects are ready to go and need help right now,” he told OPB earlier. “We didn’t want them to be held up for nine months while someone applied with a state agency.”

Kotek sent an email to all 44 towns and asked them to tell him more about their plans.

By April 17, the governor will have made up his mind about whether to veto these projects.

Based on a press statement from her office, these are the projects Kotek is thinking about blocking:

  • $3 million to the Oak Lodge Water Services Authority to improve the wastewater treatment plant
  • $3 million to the city of Siletz to improve its wastewater treatment plant
  • The Tualatin Valley Water District was given $3 million to improve the pump station on SW 189th Avenue in Beaverton.
  • $1.5 million to the city of Butte Falls to improve the wastewater treatment plant and lift station
  • $1.5 million to the city of Shady Cove to improve its water line for drinking
  • $1 million to the city of Creswell to improve its wastewater treatment plant and connect it to a regional treatment plant.
  • $500 thousand to the city of Gold Hill to replace a water main and make changes and upgrades to water treatment plants.

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