MEDFORD, Ore. — Elected leaders in Southern Oregon are looking over how Oregon Legislature's second 2020 Special Session, focused on reshaping the state's budget in anticipation of more than $1 billion in revenue shortfalls, could impact funding for local programs.
Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer says that, in spite of the economic impacts wrought by COVID-19 shutdowns, the county appears to be in a good position.
“Going forward, I believe we're going be in pretty good shape here," Dyer said. "I haven't seen specifically what cuts the state is making the programs that may affect programs in Jackson County. I’m assuming there will be some."
Dyer says the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on some of Jackson Counties major money-makers. The Jackson County Expo, the airport and hotels have all taken a hit since the start of the pandemic.
For Dyer, one major priority is pushing for Jackson County to receive funding from the CARES Act, currently held by Governor Brown, that he believes should be distributed to local governments. Dyer said that he has brought a letter to the Board of Commissioners for approval, which he intends to send on to local lawmakers.
"We still expect Jackson County to receive the allocation that was intended by Congress for our citizens to receive the benefit of," Dyer said. "There's $625 million that was intended to be distributed to the local counties and cities throughout Oregon that is still yet to be distributed."
The Governor's Office said in June that some those funds were being made available to local governments through reimbursement requests, with further rounds of funding available in July. Funding for direct public health responses to COVID-19 were prioritized at the beginning of that program.
Jackson County also got approved for another $500,000 that will go toward the United Way.