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From the Desk of Commissioner Danielle Bethell

Written by Danielle Bethell on Sep. 20th, 2023
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If you would have asked me five years ago where I’d be working today, I likely would have said “here”, at the time, I was the Executive Director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.  Boy, I sure loved that job.  I thought there was no other place to be for someone whose love language is ‘service to others’.  But here I am today serving the almost 350,000 residents of Marion County.  I didn’t have much interaction with the Commissioners before becoming one, in fact, when I was asked to run for this seat I didn’t really know what a commissioner did.  I can tell you now with certainty, it’s an amazing job that allows for so much interaction, and in a wide array of service areas.

Everyday I get the chance to meet our public where they are.  Meaning when I get a call, email, letter or request to be present I work diligently to meet that request and determine how to be of service.  The primary part of this position is listening to what the communities’ needs are, and then acting.  Action comes through the more than 1,600 employees, within 15 departments who operate within a budget of just over $690 million annually.  

A few of the key projects being worked on today that I believe will be of interest to our business community are economic development and the one-time infusion of federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. 

The Marion County Economic Development Program is operating an annual budget of more than $11 million, which is made up of multiple revenue sources, some one time and others reoccurring. Currently we are working with our economic development team and a couple area business owners on a business impact study.  This study is designed to showcase the tax revenue that businesses contribute that pay for the public services within Marion County.  The goal with this study is to educate, not just ourselves, but all around us of just how important the business community is.  The study will specifically be a micro tax revenue analysis of businesses, focusing on property tax revenue, as well as businesses that contribute tax revenue of $1 million or more in order to engage the Rural Opportunity Zones.  From this study the next steps will be to generate an education video using data from this study to showcase the community impact/benefit of these dollars. 

Local businesses are key to thriving communities.  I am certain you can pause momentarily and think of just one local business that you know donates funds, skills or time to a cause and because of that donation positive outcomes are occurring.  

We MUST prioritize local businesses and the value they bring to Marion County! 

Marion County received just under $68 million in ARPA funds.  As a Board of Commissioners, we worked within our communities throughout the course of a year to listen to areas of need, and investment opportunities that would make generational impacts.  Across the federal categories we invested more than $10 million in areas related to public health, more than $7 million in areas impacted by negative economic impacts, more than $26 million in infrastructure to include water, sewer and broadband projects and more than $16 million in revenue replacement for communities (cities) or organizations who serve the residents of Marion County. 

Danielle Bethell

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