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Wallowa County may get some much needed financial relief in 2019. More accurately, it may now finally realize financial benefits that it, along with other Oregon counties, should have been receiving for some time now.

Sponsored by several Oregon law-makers, including Wallowa County representatives Senator Bill Hansell and Representative Greg Baretto, as well as the political influence of advocacy groups like the Association of Oregon Counties and the Oregon Economic Association, HB 2023 should have some momentum behind it.

The law’s intent was to enable local economic development initiatives — something Wallowa County could sorely use.

While lottery money has been distributed to local governments under the current law, counties haven’t realized the full intended benefit. According to the Association of Oregon Counties, each was “supposed to receive 2.5 percent of the net value lottery receipts.” But for about eight years Oregon counties where shorted their fair share…. To the tune about $5.1 Million, according to the Association of Oregon Counties.

For a local community like Wallowa County, any extra financial resources can go a log way. While Wallowa County and it’s counterparts through ought the state did receive some money, it doesn’t take much to wonder what the fully intended benefit might have provided.

The Association of Oregon Counties tracked how local governments were able to invest in economic development in 2018 even without fuel funding.

Locally, Wallowa County “support local groups and businesses to further tourism and local economic development opportunities, including public safety. Examples include support for a music festival, repair of tow cables at the small ski area, and housing for fire equipment in outlying, very rural areas of the county.”

Neighboring Union County saw higher yields as each county’s payout is relative to its video lottery traffic. It was able to expend its share “to make a loan payment for purchase of 60 acres of industrial zoned property which is now readily available for businesses.” Union County also was able to “support the operation and debt service payment of Buffalo Peak Golf Course; utilized for debt service payment on a loan to match an federal Economic Development Administration grant and a local bond for the development and job creation potential at the Union County Airport Light Industrial Park.”

Clearly, while 2.5 percent may see like pennies out of our pockets, its aggregate effect can have meaningful impacts. HB 2023 attempts to correct the errors of almost the entire last decade while honoring the legislatures initial intent to promote economic development opportunities for Oregon’s respective counties.

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District will offer its GrantReady on Saturdays from Oct. 21 to Nov. 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in La …