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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Brown scopes out counties' finances

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown has taken time off from running for re-election to issue a new audit report on the financial conditions of the state's counties. Not surprisingly, the ones who have relied heavily on federal timber payments are in deep trouble, and Brown's put them on a watch list.

Other interesting facts:

- Multnomah County's unfunded retirement liabilities work out to just under $500 per resident. In contrast, the City of Portland's is more than $5,000.

- Ominously, the report includes a survey of the various states' rules on municipal bankruptcy. According to Brown, Oregon counties are not allowed to file bankruptcy.

- Debt service eats up 6.4% of Washington County's "governmental fund revenue" every year; for Multnomah and Clackamas Counties, it's 4.8%.

Comments (5)

2012 May 31 Thursday 11:05 U (11:05 AM PT)

The audit report should be a good read in light of the Clackistani Revolt over the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project (PMLR), Measure 3-401, Caption: VOTER APPROVAL OF COUNTY RESOURCES FOR PUBLIC RAIL TRANSIT SYSTEMS QUESTION. And recent revelations that Clackamas County is in arrears to the sum of "$60,000" to the Willamette Shore Line Consortium (WSLC).

For the latter please review a partial transcript of Meeting 5/5 of the 2012-2013 City of Lake Oswego Citizen Budget Committee. Held on 2012 May 24 Thursday. It was distributed to many citizens and government entities including Clackamas County on 2012 May 28 Monday.

It has been posted to
File: TSCP_LOCB_Mtng_5F5_WSLC_Sgmt_2012_05May_24Th_1801U.pdf

The transcript provides links to video source (6 minutes) and reference material regarding the transcript, along with Willamette Shore Line, between Portland and Lake Oswego.

On the same website please also examine
File: CMUA_BHCN_WSL_Earthquake_2011_04Apr_04Mo_2000U.pdf
Ask why TriMet along with the City of Lake Oswego is preparing to line the Elk Rock Tunnel with concrete this 2012 summer. It is an expensive project with dubious returns unless the aim is to cover something up. Note too on the transcript comments at time mark 02;07;15 from Craig Prosser, TriMet Board Director representing Clackamas County. Craig Prosser is a resident in the City of Lake Oswego and is representing his opinions only.

TriMet and the City of Portland are also in arrears for payment of dues to the Willamette Shore Line Consortium for 2012 - 2013. Many people should ask why?

Also of note are Lake Oswego Mayor Jack D. Hoffman’s comments at time mark 02;09;37.

Charles Ormsby (Skip) aka "sentinelskip"

2012 May 31 Thursday 11:12 U (11:12 AM PT)

Caught an error:

TriMet and the City of Portland are also in arrears for payment of dues to the Willamette Shore Line Consortium for 2012 - 2013. Many people should ask why?

Should read

TriMet and the City of Portland are also in arrears for payment of dues to the Willamette Shore Line Consortium for 2011 - 2012. Many people should ask why?

Charles Ormsby (Skip) aka "sentinelskip"

I need to read "Katie the Screw-Up's" report re: power of Oregon Counties to file for BR protection.

BRs happen in two ways. The debtor files a voluntary petition;

or, A creditor or group of Creditors file an involuntary petition.

I can see where the Oregon Legislature could, in the powers it gave counties when it created them,arguably prohibit counties from filing a voluntary BR petition, but I can't see how the Oregon Legislature can preclude a creditor or group of creditors from filing an involuntary petition in a federal bankruptcy court naming the county as the debtor and seeking appointment of a Trustee.

If the county is bankrupt then it is bankrupt. Doesn't matter if the law allows it or not, if there isn't any money to pay the bills then there isn't any money.

The counties can't print their own money and neither can the state. If taxes are raised too high then business and people will move away.

We might see this happen within the next 10 years in at least one or two counties in Oregon. Pension debt might be enough to overwhelm a weaker county.

Nonny Mouse, cities and counties can file bankruptcy petitions under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code, but only if state law specifically allows that class of government to become a debtor in bankruptcy. Oregon has not specifically allowed its counties to file for bankruptcy, so they can't. (By contrast, ORS 548.705 allows irrigation districts and drainage districts to file for bankruptcy.)

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