County holds excise tax hearing Monday

Hood River County Board of Commissioners are set for a busy meeting Monday, where the public will get a chance to weigh in during several hearings targeting construction and business ordinances.

The hearings start at 6 p.m., in the board room on the first floor of the County Business Administration Building at 601 State St.

The excise tax, created by Oregon Senate Bill 1533 last year, allows local governments to impose taxes on new development via building permits, with revenue destined for affordable housing initiatives. The maximum tax rate for residential projects is 1 percent, while the commercial rate can go higher.

However, the county’s ordinance proposes a flat 1 percent rate on all residential and commercial facilities during the program’s rollout.

County staff said the Monday hearing will entail the first reading of that legislation, review of the document and possibly public comment — but no formal action will be taken, as the matter will carry over to a later date, determined by the board of commissioners.

An excise tax advisory committee has recommended that the county board adopt the ordinance with minor changes made by City of Hood River representatives.

Other hearings include the pending repeal of a taxi cab ordinance and a motor vehicle fuel dealer licensing ordinance, part of a broader county code update. County attorneys have recommend repealing Ordinance No. 4 regulating taxi cabs; the ordinance is coming up for a second reading Monday. Similarly, the motor vehicle ordinance is slated for a second reading before the county repeals and replaces it.

The county will hold minor budget adjustment hearings before the CET and business rule hearings.

In other business, the board will hear from the Port of Cascade Locks. Jess Groves, port president, and Paul Koch, general manager, have asked to speak with the commission about entering a memorandum of understanding to “enhance economic development.”

Hood River County Prevention Department will request that the board declares the week of April 2-8 as Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

During their work session, commissioners will get an update on the Westside Area Concept Plan Update, the countywide Energy Plan, and a state legislative package for transportation funding.

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