Since 1972, Benton County has been an Oregon “Home Rule” County, meaning that the citizens have full control over the county’s governance structure, rather than the constitutional model described by the state constitution.
The voters elect three County commissioners and a Sheriff to four-year terms. As a state official, the District Attorney is also elected to a four-year term. The County commissioners are assisted in their administrative responsibilities by the county administrator, who is responsible for implementing County policy, managing operations, budget, and supervising department directors.
Benton County operates on a biennial budget cycle. With a ’15-’17 total budget of approximately $207.9 million and 430 employees, Benton County provides a breadth of services through its departments of Assessment, Board of Commissioners, Community Development, District Attorney, Records and Elections, Financial Services, Health Centers, Health Department, Human Resources, Information Technology, Juvenile, Natural Areas, Parks and Events, Public Works, and the Sheriff’s Office. To view the county budget visit http://budget.co.benton.or.us.
2040 Thriving Communities Initiative
The 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative is a community-driven exploration of what we like about where we live and how we want our county to be like in the future. Key to the initiative is the 2040 Thriving Communities Council that is leading the effort. The 2040 Council is a group of individuals representing a variety of interests, including the farming and logging industries, OSU, regional development, municipalities, the private sector, and community organizations. This visioning process will identify core values in order to realign budgets, policies and processes to advance effective and efficient services to address long-term, complex issues.
Justice Systems Improvement
A comprehensive study of the law enforcement and criminal justice system, including the constraints imposed by the existing courthouse, jail and Law Enforcement buildings, will assist the commissioners and County Administrator in planning for future justice and law enforcement needs. Because the jail is over capacity and the courthouse is the oldest Oregon courthouse still in use for its original purpose, the county will consider these challenges within the context of prevalent social issues, such as housing, health, access to social services, and development.”
Innovative Transportation Systems
County residents have a strong commitment to alternative transportation systems, boasting free public transit within Corvallis and regional intra-city transportation. The county-wide Transportation System Plan identifies existing and future transportation conditions and potential projects to improve safety and capacity within the county. The County has worked to connect pedestrians and bicyclists between North Albany and Corvallis and is embarking on the next phase of this effort. This effort is reflective of the approach taken by County staff to engage the public and propose innovative solutions when considering transportation systems.