Fact Check: Extension Service ballot measure campaign claims

Fact Check: Extension Service ballot measure campaign claims

EUGENE, Ore. -- After the OSU Extension Service lost its annual $560,000 dolllars funding from Lane County, the program's volunteers are asking voters to pay for the program with their property taxes. EXTENDED INTERVIEWS: Pro | Con

How much money will it raise?

If Measure 20-158 is approved, property owners would pay $10 a year for every $200,000 their home is valued.  The levy would generate about $1.2 million each year for five years. 

Opponents have charged the measure is excessive. One group, Friends 4 Better Solutions, says tax would nearly double the Extension Service's budget.  

Extension Service supporters disagree.

As shown in budget documents, the Extension Service is currently operating on a $1 million budget. If approved, the money generated by the measure would increase the 2009-2010 budget by about 113 percent.  Local funding would increase by about 93 percent.

But it's not that simple.

In the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the last year it received funding from Lane County, the Extension Service's operated on a $1.6 million budget.  Funding from the ballot measure would still be an increase from that figure, but not double.  It also represents a 33 percent increase in local funding.

What does Measure 20-158 pay for?

The creators of the measure have put together this funding package showing how the money would be used.

It includes:

  • $572,427 for the salaries of 10 employees for its programs (positions eliminated when county funding was lost) (This story has been edited to correct a typo.  The ballot measure funding package includes $572,427 for 10 employees, not $772,427 as shown in an earlier version of this story. You can see the salary for each proposed employee in the funding package link.)
  • $280,000 for program-wide expenses, like building rent, maintenance and office equipment
  • $270,000 dollars for expenses for the 4-H Youth, Horticulture, Family and Community Health and Forestry and Natural Resources programs
  • $56,121.35 dollars for an emergency fund
     

Extended interviews

PRO: Annetta Forrer is a member of Save Lane Extension, which is in favor of Measure 20-158.

CON: Cliff Kelley is a member of Friends 4 Better Solutions, which is urging Lane County residents to vote against Measure 20-158.