County adds to youth wage-grant program

Linn County’s annual First-Time Youth Wage Grant program added five more participants in September, the Board of Commissioners learned Tuesday morning, Oct. 12. 

There are now 29 companies and 62 young people participating in the program, which is funded by economic development money generated by the Oregon Lottery.

Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Sherrie Sprenger participated in the meeting from the boardroom, while Commissioner Will Tucker, recovering from COVID-19 at home, participated by telephone.

New program participants are the O.K. Country Feed & Supply, Sweet Home Dairy Queen, The Point Restaurant and Lounge, Stutzman Services and Boshart Trucking.

Companies that employ teenagers ages 14-17 at their first job from May through September, can receive a stipend of $4 per hour, up to $2,000 each for up to three youth, with a maximum reimbursement of $6,000.

In other business:

— Due in part to grants and payments received for various COVID-19 relief programs and receipts from the sale of property for the intermodal project in Millersburg, Linn County’s financial outlook after the first quarter of the new fiscal year appears solid, according to Accounting Officer Bill Palmer.

— County Health Officer Dr. William Muth said there were 2,836 COVID-19 cases in Linn County in September and 107 total deaths since the pandemic began. There have been more than 4,000 deaths statewide. He said about 59% of Linn County residents are vaccinated, about 81% of those age 65 and older. The state average is 51% and 87%, respectively. Muth said there were 29 females and 37 males born last month and 153 deaths, of which four were by suicide. There were 21 reported animal bites, of which one was verified as rabid.

— County Treasurer Michelle Hawkins asked commissioners to approve amending the county policy regarding credit-card transaction spending limits. The limit had been $5,000, but in reality, departments need to make purchases up to $50,000 at a time. Purchases will be monitored by staff from the Treasurer’s Office, Accounting Department and Administrative Officer Darrin Lane. The request was approved.

— Approved a letter of support to allow the Family Treatment Court to apply for a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program.

— Authorized the purchase of two Caterpillar Model 420 backhoes with a total price of $266,187 for the Road Department.

— The commissioners were told by Alyssa Boles that the Planning Department processed 12 permits for single-family dwellings in September and 90 total permits were issued in September compared to 68 in September 2020. The county has waived more than $83,000 in permits for families affected by last year’s wildfires in the Santiam Canyon.

— Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Albany for the Health Department to assist someone with a mental health crisis; accepted a grant from the Criminal Justice Commission for the Specialty Courts Program not to exceed $242,191 from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023.

— Approved an intergovernmental agreement – with a one-year sunset review – to allow the Oregon Health Authority to access the county’s database concerning WIC audits.

— Approved a refund of $1,375 from the Environmental Health Department, after the cancellation of a septic system project.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer

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