Charter Government Proposed For Klamath County

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, November 13 2013 at 2:57 PM, Updated: Wed, November 13 2013 at 3:07 PM

A Klamath Falls woman says she's got a plan to make Klamath County government run more efficiently, and for less money...but the current commissioners didn't welcome the idea with open arms at a meeting this morning.

Kate Marquez says switching to a 'charter' form of county government would save money...

"It's a proposal actually which saves the county, and the taxpayers about 20 thousand dollars a year by reducing the salary of the commissioners."

In a nutshell, a county administrator would be hired to run day-to-day operations.

A board of 3 elected part-time commissioners would oversee the administrator, and make policy decisions.

Commissioner Jim Bellet argues that even with an administrator, a part-time position isn't adequate for the demands of his job...

"Would I do what I do right now for $24,000?  No.  No way."

Marquez asked the commissioners to place the issue on the May ballot.

"The answer is definitely no."  Responded Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum.  "And the reason it's definitely no is I haven't seen anything."

Marquez asked the board if County Counsel could review her proposal to check its legality before she releases it.

Commissioner Linthicum said that would be inappropriate...

"Your team, the individuals that you're working with and your attorney ought to do that."

In order to get the issue on the May ballot, Marquez will need to collect over 1300 signatures by February 19th.

Marquez plans to hold a meeting later this month to discuss the charter effort.

That meeting will be held on Friday, November, 22nd, from noon to 1:30 at Elmer's restaurant on south sixth street.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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