West Lane Co. Commission: Jay Bozievich vs. Jerry Rust

West Lane Co. Commission: Jay Bozievich vs. Jerry Rust
Jay Bozievich and Jerry Rust

ELMIRA, Ore. -  The race is on to represent West Lane County on the County Commission.

The sprawling district starts just west of Eugene and continues all the way to the coast.

Commissioner Bill Fleenor is retiring, so the seat is wide open.

In November, voters will choose between Jerry Rust and Jay Bozievich to replace Fleenor.
 

JAY BOZIEVICH

Civil engineer Jay Bozievich is looking for a new job - and a pay cut.

The man from Elmira wants to be a Lane County Commissioner.  His campaign signs call for "a new direction."

So KVAL News asked: Where?

"A new direction towards a more business friendly climate," Bozievich said, "and new direction towards controlling our spending to protect our core services."

Bozievich, 52, has been an engineer with the Eugene Water and Electric Board since 1997. With his wife, he runs a home-based publishing business.

Bozievich also spent 4 years on the LCC college board.

He's also been a tea party activist. But that's not the main reason he's running.

"I kind of got involved in the 'fund the jail' effort when the commissioners were going to fund 5 personal assistants but they were not going to fund the 84 jail beds," he said.

With federal payments to counties drying up and renewal hardly a sure thing, Bozievich said county spending must be slashed.

"Specifically I would like to try and get as much of our public safety to survive that process, keeping our jail beds open," he said.

That could mean the county partly-privatizes some services, like the county fairgrounds. 

"I think it's a great asset for the county, but I would definitely look for ways of trying to make that facility run a little bit better and it may be in a partial-privatization plan," Bozievich said.

He would also lobby the feds to allow more logging on timber lands to boost timber receipt revenue to the county.

"But if I have to make a choice between a functioning public safety system and closing a park, I think I'm going to have to choose the functioning public safety system," he said.
 
Watch KVAL News story on Bozievich

JERRY RUST

Jerry Rust wants his old job back: He served as a Lane County Commissioner when Jimmy Carter was president.

"I've been there, got the t-shirt," he said.

First elected in 1976, Rust held held the seat Pete Sorenson does now as a county commissioner for 20 years. He has since moved to Florence.

But in 2010, this is no trip down memory lane for Rust.

"I don't believe in bickering," he said at a Junction City candidate forum. "We don't have time for it. This is the public's business."

Rust, 67, He entered the West Lane race when Bill Fleenor decided not to run again.

Rust said that without question, the top job is solving the budget deficit for next year.

"I understand it's $7 million dollars," he said. "That's a big number, but it's doable. I believe we can balance this budget with no new revenue."

County Administrator Jeff Spartz confirmed that deficit figure.   

Rust thinks certain steps next year can avoid deeper trouble.

"That means early retirement; that means trimming some high salaries, that means freezing some open positions," Rust said.

KVAL News asked: Any specifics?

"Well, I think it's too premature to say," Rust said.

What about jail funding? "Well, jail funding is a given," Rust said. "Public safety is the highest level of need."

To jump-start the economy, Rust wants to grow jobs through wine tourism. He envisions what he calls a "pinot trail."

"We need to do some land use changes so that wineries can have restaurants, they can put on special events," he said.

Rust also said public-private partnerships are the only way to put the fairgrounds on a more stable footing, not with county money.

Watch KVAL News story on Rust