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County leaders headed to D.C.
Klamath commissioners to meet with congressional delegation
By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 3/2/10
Klamath County’s three commissioners and its county treasurer will head to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to meet with the Oregon’s congressional delegation and attend an annual legislative conference.
Commissioners will spend the week meeting with federal lawmakers and their staff to discuss issues in the Klamath Basin. Topics will include federal timber payments that help pay for schools and roads, and the recently signed Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
“This is always something that is both worthwhile for the county and for us professionally,” said Commissioner John Elliott.
The exact cost of the D.C. trip for the four officials can’t be determined until after expense reports are filed. But estimated costs are about $1,885 per person, not including meals.
County Treasurer Mike Long said roundtrip airfare averages to about $450 per person, with hotel accommodations costing about $205 per night per person.
Commissioners regularly attend the National Association of Counties’ annual legislative conference. The three commissioners — Al Switzer, Elliott and Cheryl Hukill — and Long sit on committees within the organization.
Commissioners have meetings set up with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both D-Ore. They will also meet with the staffs of the lawmakers sitting on the House Subcommittee on Water and Power, part of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Hukill said the reauthorization of federal timber payments, provided by the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self Determination Act, and the situation facing the red zone, a part of the Fremont-Winema National Forests devastated by pine bark beetles, would be among top issues for commissioners.
Elliott said that the restoration agreement, which seeks to resolve disputes over water in the region, also would be a priority, and he also expected discussions on air quality.
Hukill added that commissioners would touch upon a request for $220,000 to $640,000 to develop plans for a joint mental health-public health center on Washburn Way. The structure would complement a recently constructed mental health facility and also create jobs, she said.
“Every thing we’re doing is geared to Klamath County,” she said.
Page Updated: Wednesday March 03, 2010 03:06 AM Pacific
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