LCOG Board Realizes it may have Some Major Clout! By Joe Pishioneri

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

          Last week while representing Springfield, the Lane Council of Governments Board (LCOG) discussed a recommendation that had originated from the Climate of Prosperity project.  It is called the “Regional Voice” concept which would advance a regional position on issues to the State Legislature, or at least to Lane County’s legislative delegation.  This would be a new role for the COG.  As you can imagine, a regional agency asserting a common interest and position of 28 units of local government could make a significant statement to our legislative delegation and other members of the Legislature, as well. The other side of the coin is obvious.  What sorts of legislative issues can gain the support of 28 units of local government–cities, the County, school districts, the community college, special districts, etc.?

Now that is the challenge!  Is it possible? I have always believed that finding common ground amongst all elected officials is possible. Here is a list of topics that will likely come before the 2011 Regular Session that the “COG” can express OUR views which could be to support or not support:

Funding Equity for “Transfer AAAs.”

Funding for Oregon Project Independence. 

Bail Bond Companies.

Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC).

Drug Take-back Program.

Reduction of PERS 6 Percent Member Contribution.

Repeal of PERS Benefit Validation Provisions.

Revision of Local Option Levy. 

Pre-Paid Cell Phone Tax collection for 9-1-1 fee.

Local Option Tobacco Tax.

Property Tax System Overhaul.

Liquor License Limits.

          There are several very interesting topics which I personally feel strong about. Both in opposition and support.  I will bring all these to my Mayor and Council to identify which topics we support.  Then I will take the list back to the LCOG board and find out if ALL 28 entities have identified two or even three we can reach a consensus on. GOOD LUCK RIGHT? I think we can and I will work hard to make this work. This concept has great potential. Feel free to contact me and let me know your thoughts. My hat’s off to George Kloeppel for his leadership and to the LCOG Board for their willingness to look at the big picture!