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Butte Falls voters strongly approve water bottling plant

BUTTE FALLS — Voters have overwhelmingly approved two measures that will bring a water bottling plant to the town. They also agreed to share in the company's gross sales revenue.

Mayor Ron Ormond, who wrote the two measures, had no doubt his town would have its long-awaited water bottling plant.

"Even if the voters hadn't passed the measures, we would still have a plant," Ormond said Tuesday. "The only decision tonight was how we handle it and how we distribute the money."

Measure 15-85 provides incentives for a bottling company to locate on land provided by the town. Tax assessments and lease payments will be waived in favor of a revenue sharing plan.

For the first five years of the plant's operation, the city of Butte Falls will semi-annually receive 5 percent of the company's gross sales revenue. The town's share increases every five years by 5 percent until it reaches 25 percent after 15 years.

"This is a positive step for the town," Ormond said. "The next step is to adopt an ordinance stating that the ballot measures passed, and then an ordinance establishing the budget account."

Measure 15-86, the second item on the city ballot, asked residents to approve a distribution plan for the city's share of bottling revenue after the first seven years of operation.

The city's share will be distributed in six equal portions, funding city public works projects, retiring city debt, aiding children's programs in schools and contributing to the local historical society and cemetery.

Butte Falls residents would also share in the revenue semi-annually, and every 10 years receive a dividend payment from long-term investment accounts.

"This spreads the benefits around the community so that everybody benefits and profits from it," said Ormond.

Ormond, who has been working on the bottling idea for more than 30 years, said a bottler already has agreed to operate the plant, but he declined to give further information.

He said the plant will bottle mountain spring water from Ginger Springs, the town's pristine water supply since 1911.

"This has taken a lot of effort," said former City Councilman Ned Soso. "I think this is really going to do the town some good."

In another measure, voters elected to return the town marshal to the city charter. The law enforcement position had inadvertently been removed when the charter was updated in 2000.

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.