Youth Wage Grant program a go once again

Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker on Tuesday, April 18, unanimously approved the annual Youth Wage Grant program for its 17th year.

The county uses economic development funds generated by the Video Lottery to subsidize $2 per hour of wages for first-time teen employees. The successful program has employed dozens of teenagers each summer. Last year, 73 youth took jobs in fields from local restaurants to farming.

To qualify, businesses must hire eligible employees, who must be Linn County residents and eligible to work legally in the United States, between May 1 and Sept. 29. Qualifying businesses must employ 35 or fewer first-time employees who have not previously worked for them previously. Maximum reimbursement is $3,000 per employer, and businesses can hire up to three qualifying young people at a time. Maximum subsidy per young person is $1,000.

For more information, call the Linn County Board of Commissioners office at (541) 967-3825 or visit http://www.co.linn.or.us.

In other business, the commissioners:

♦ Were informed by Linn County Health Officer Dr. William Muth of 66 births — 30 girls and 36 boys — and 112 deaths in March. Of those deaths, tobacco could be considered a contributing factor in 22%; diabetes, almost 19%; alcohol, 4.5%; and drug use, 4.5%. Some 226 COVID-19 cases were reported, with 908 year-to-date, compared to 10,265 cases at the same time last year.

♦ Were told by Environmental Health Manager Shane Sanderson that the number of inspections at food-service facilities has grown as staffing continues to improve. He reported 50 inspections in March and 426 year-to-date, compared to 241 last year.

♦ Approved several Linn County Public Health requests, including a personal services contract between Linn County and the Albany Partnership and Community Development to provide increased housing support for 20 to 25 clients, not to exceed $110,000; an intergovernmental agreement with Portland State University to conduct a coalition assessment for Linn County Alcohol and Drug from January 1, 2022, to Sept. 29, 2025, not to exceed $27,000; accepting a $10,000 grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials to purchase two evacuation kits and medical treatment supplies for the Linn County Sheriff’s Office; approved an intergovernmental agreement with Oregon State University and Linn County to provide internships for students in the Masters of Counseling program; approved a student affiliation agreement with Linn-Benton Community College to provide internships for students in the nursing program; and approved an Alcohol and Drug Department proposal to update its by-laws.

♦ Approved contracting with Dr. Adam Brady of Samaritan Health Services to act as the Linn County Health Officer for three hours per week at $180 per hour. He will succeed Dr. William Muth, who has moved from the area.

♦ Appointed Kacey Wimmer to Position 2 on the Linn County Health Advisory Committee. She replaces Miao Zhao.

♦ Approved several Linn County Road Department actions for work on the Goldfish Farm Road project, including an easement for $12,423 with Everette and Hattie Lowrie; easements for $1,637 and $96 with Albany Auto Wrecking; and approved closure of a portion of Main Street in Scio for the annual Linn County Lamb and Wool Fair parade, scheduled May 19-20.

♦ Announced that the 2023-24 budget hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 1, and continue through Thursday, May 4, at the Linn County Expo Center. The meetings are open to the public.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer