May 19 Elections Give Voters Some Interesting Choices

The upcoming May 19 election will offer local voters the chance to elect representatives to the Vernonia School Board, The Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District, the Mist-Birkenfeld Fire District and the Columbia County 9-1-1 Communications District.  There are also three ballot Measures  for voters consideration.

Ballot Measure 5-243 is a county wide measure that would increase the Natural Resources Depletion Fee  by thirty-five cents ($.35) per ton to a total of fifty cents ($.50) per ton. The current fee primarily provides revenue for county roads. The increase is intended to cover the costs to the infrastructure of Columbia County that result from mining activities. The additional fees would be used as follows:

• Ten cents ($.10) for road improvements and maintenance of existing roads and bridges.

• Twenty-five cents ($.25) for Columbia County Rider Transportation.

The initiative requires that none of the proposed increased funds could be used for other county general fund purposes.

Measures 5-245 and 5-246 would raise funds for the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District.  Measure 5-245 is a ten year bond for the purchase of fire apparatus and is estimated to cost taxpayers an average of $0.2621 per thousand of assessed value each year. For the owner of a home or property owner, the estimated annual average cost would be $26.21 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value. Measure 5-246 is a five year levy which would fund  the salary and benefits package of a Training Captain. This person would be responsible for the District’s training program and responding to incidents.  This measure is estimated to cost taxpayers an average of $0.32 per thousand of assessed value each year. For the owner of a home or property the estimated annual average cost would be $32 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value.

The Vernonia School Board will have a few new faces. Katie Cook is running unopposed for Position 3 and Brittanie Roberts in running unopposed for Position 7.  Those seats are currently held by Tim Bamburg and current Board Chair Bill Langmaid who both chose not to run.  Greg Kintz, who currently occupies Position 2 is facing a challenge from Thomas E. Jones of Birkenfeld. Jones is the husband of Mist School teacher Joan Jones.

The Vernonia and Mist-Birkenfeld Fire District Boards will see no changes as Joel Glass and Terry Lindauer in Vernonia are both running unopposed for their currently held positions and Larry Boxman, Joan Jones, and Barbara Smith are all running unopposed for positions they currently hold on the Mist-Birkenfeld Fire Board.  The same is true on the Columbia 9-1-1 Board where Kathy Denkla is running unopposed for the position she currently holds.