Benton County Board decides on $110 million May 2023 bond measure

Better outcomes for justice system improvements.
Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The Benton County Board of Commissioners received a final presentation on the costs and recommended projects for the planned May 16, 2023, Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP) bond measure. The total cost of facilities for the proposed bond measure is $114 million and staff presented a number of bond cost scenarios ranging from $100 million up to $114 million. After discussion, the Board was unanimous in their decision to set the bond amount at $110 million. The cost would be approximately $150 - $155 per year for a Benton County home with an average tax-assessed value of $266,000 or market value of about $450,000.

Commissioners directed staff to explore additional funding strategies including requesting funding from the Oregon State Legislature for the Emergency Operations Center. If not successful in securing this support, the County may need to consider reprioritization of other planned budget programs or services. The Board will continue the reprioritization discussion later this month.

The bond measure would fund a new co-located correctional facility, Sheriff’s Office, and emergency operations center to maximize operational savings and efficiencies. It will also include up to $4.5 million for an expanded youth mental health services facility and a homelessness services facility. The inclusion of these facilities in the bond package is in response to community priorities for the escalating need.

In November, the Board unanimously decided to include funding in the bond package for homelessness services facilities. The decision is to support the preferred partner option of the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center’s (CDDC) homelessness resources and housing navigation center project.

At their December 20, 2022 meeting, the board unanimously supported the inclusion of expanded facilities for youth mental health to address the growing need for services in Benton County. According to Behavioral Health Deputy Director, Damien Sands, the County has a lack of space to serve youth in need of services.

“Over the last decade, the County has seen the need to serve children and youth skyrocket, with numerous conditions from depression to substance use continuing to rise. Right now, we lack the space to accommodate the growing needs. Our Children and Family Program do amazing work as a part of the larger Behavioral Health team at Benton County. Expanded facilities will help them continue in that good work,” Sands said.

The Justice System Improvement Program is the County’s most comprehensive approach ever to improve Benton County’s justice system to be equitable, effective, and safe. The total estimated cost for JSIP facilities is $179 million and County staff have been exploring all possible funding sources. Phase I of the program is now fully funded and includes the new courthouse and District Attorney’s office. It will be funded with County borrowing and a 50% state matching grant for the courthouse. Phase II facilities include those that will be included in the bond to go before voters this May. Members of the public can learn more about the planning process leading up to this decision at www.bentoncountyjustice.org.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.