Oakridge looks at $31 monthly fee amid major deficit in ambulance services

Some local businesses in the area foresee a struggle if this budget proposal is passed.

Posted: Jun 16, 2021 7:28 PM
Updated: Jun 16, 2021 7:41 PM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- To make up for a massive deficit in Oakridge's ambulance services, the City of Oakridge is weighing a new fee for residents to pay.

Officials say the deficit is to the tune of $540,000 and say the proposal would require most residents to pay a $31 water fee each month.

City Administrator Bryan Cutchen said there might be some confusion about it. He said it's meant to help make up the deficit without cutting more from other critical services. And those with low incomes could apply for an exemption from the fee. Cutchen also said he wants to improve current ambulance services for the future. 

Oakridge resident Adrienne Hackett said the money could be well spent. 

"It would be very helpful. I'm sure in an emergency you would be glad to have paid that amount to get better service," said Hackett. 

However, there are some businesses that think it would be detrimental to their customers. Managers at the Arbor Inn Motel could be charged $31 per unit. With a total of 45 units, that adds up to a $17,000 bill every year. 

This leaves Manager Laurie Nemoede worried for their customers and business. Nemoede said she will have to start charging her tenants a higher fee. 

"I've told my tenants in the back if it passes, you guys are going to get that charge because $17,000 a year, and that's a lot of money," said Nemoede. 

The proposal is still just that, a proposal. The Oakridge City Council will discuss it at their meeting on Thursday night. 

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