Help Us Make A Better BMTD!
BMTD is starting the year off by seeking legislative changes to common problems that the District has been facing for 4 decades. Thanks to help from Senator Cliff Bentz (R-30, Ontario), we are submitting 3 bills in the 2019 Regular Session of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Citizens interested in seeing our bills passed can help us by calling their legislators and asking that they support our legislation. Please contact:
- Senator Cliff Bentz (SD 30). Phone: 503-986-1730. Email: Sen.CliffBentz@oregonlegislature.gov.
- Representative Lynn Findley (HD 60). Phone: 503-986-1460. Email: Rep.LynnFindley@oregonlegislature.gov.
- Senator Bill Hansell (SD 29). Phone: 503-986-1729. Email: Sen.BillHansell@oregonlegislature.gov.
- Representative Greg Barreto (HD 58). Phone: 503-986-1458. Email: Rep.email@example.com.
Senate Bill 393 has 2 key provisions: allowing financial supporters who live in incorporated cities to serve on BMTD’s Board, and allowing voters in cities to consider annexation into the District. Currently, BMTD may not include incorporated cities into its boundaries, so 10 cities in Baker and Union Counties are blank spots in the middle of our map. As a result, financial supporters of BMTD who live within city limits are not permitted to serve on our board of Directors. Additionally, BMTD is currently required to physically inspect properties in these cities prior to sending a service charge letter, but we do not possess the resources to continuously search 10 cities to find new antennas. Following a survey of cities in Baker and Union Counties last year, BMTD sent over 320 service charge letters to the owners of properties where an antenna was discovered. SB 393 will solve the problem of preventing members in cities from serving on our board, and allow city voters to weigh in on limiting our administrative difficulties related to billing properties in their communities. We thank the cities of Elgin, Haines, Imbler, and North Powder for their support of SB 393 as introduced, along with Baker and Union Counties. SB 393 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Business & General Government. For more information on bill progress, visit https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB393#.
Senate Bill 394 concerns technological upgrades that will allow BMTD to offer a better service in our community. The most popular provision in this bill would allow BMTD to begin transmitting local emergency alerts on our signals, and we are thankful that this provision is supported by the Union County Farm Bureau, as well as the Rural Fire Protection Districts serving Haines, Imbler, Keating, La Grande Rural, Medical Springs, and North Powder. Additional provisions would allow BMTD to upgrade to the next standard for digital broadcasting (ATSC 3.0), as well as own and operate our own channel! BMTD hopes that a local channel will allow us to broadcast hyper-local news and information, and create additional revenue opportunities through the sale of advertisements for local businesses. SB 394 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Business & General Government. We thank the cities of Elgin, Haines, Imbler, Island City, and North Powder for their support of SB 394 as introduced, along with Baker and Union Counties. For more information on bill progress, visit https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB394.
A third bill is currently being drafted, LC 837. This bill will give BMTD voters the option to choose between the existing service charge system or levying property taxes. In 1979, the Legislature transitioned BMTD from property taxes to the current service charge system, a choice that we believe should have been left to voters. Additionally, BMTD would allow to make two important agreements with cities: allowing city code enforcement officials to inspect properties for the presence of antennas, and allow cities to collect service charges on municipal utility bills. We will post the full draft of this bill online once it has been completed and assigned a Senate Bill Number.