On March 11th, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. As part of that funding package, $6.4 billion will be disbursed to the State of Oregon and Oregon’s cities and counties. The National Special Districts Coalition aggressively advocated for inclusion of language in the final version of the Act that would provide direct federal assistance to special districts across the country. Despite reintroduction of proposed federal legislation and gathering support from nearly 500 national organizations, state associations, businesses, and individual special districts, direct relief for special districts was not included. However, language was included that enabled state and local government recipients of direct assistance to transfer funding to special districts.
Based on member feedback, Oregon’s special districts are anticipating a $562.3 million impact through this year due to the pandemic. More than half – 53 percent – will have reduced essential services provided to Oregonians while 35 percent will have reduced their frontline workforce through this year. All of the nearly 300 fire, rescue and emergency districts have felt some degree of impact due to the pandemic and anticipate ongoing effects as they provide first-response services to their communities, and Oregon’s port districts have taken a 20 percent hit on their annual operating budgets.
We understand the difficulties you have faced during the pandemic and are working extremely hard to ensure that special districts receive funding (see the SDAO letter sent to Governor Brown). We have also been urging legislators to assist us with requesting the Governor use the transfer authority as intended to distribute a portion of the state fiscal recovery funding to Oregon’s special districts, but we need your help!
CALL TO ACTION
Contact Your Local Legislators
- Contact your local house representative and senator by email and mail. We have developed a template letter (Microsoft Word) for you to use for your legislators. To identify your house representative and senator and find contact information, use this handy Legislator Lookup Tool.
- Include SDAO on your email to your legislator(s) using email@example.com as the email address in the CC field.
Contact Governor Kate Brown and Legislative Leaders
- Mail a letter to Governor Kate Brown. We have developed a template letter (Microsoft Word) for your district to use.
Honorable Governor Kate Brown
Office of the Governor
900 Court St NE, Suite 254
Salem, Oregon 97301
- Email your letter to the following individuals:
- Legislative Director at Office of the Governor: Elana.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Leah Horner, Director of Regional Solutions: Leah.email@example.com
- And CC the following individuals:
Senate President, Peter Courtney:
Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek:
Senate Majority Leader, Robert Wagner:
House Majority Leader, Barbara Smith Wagner:
Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod:
House Republican Leader: Christine Drazan:
Joint Committee on Ways and Means Co-Chair, Senator Betsy Johnson:
Joint Committee on Ways and Means Co-Chair, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward:
Joint Committee on Ways and Means Co-Chair, Representative Dan Rayfield:
- Include SDAO on your email using firstname.lastname@example.org as the email address in the CC field.
Thank you for joining us in advocating for Oregon’s special districts. Contact Governor Kate Brown and your local legislators as soon as possible to ensure special districts are not overlooked.