By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Kulla urges referral of board expansion

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Can this be done without approving a home rule charter? Would all five commissioners be elected at-large, or by zones?

David S. Wall

“The county’s decisions are too big to be made by just three commissioners.”

This is only a "true" statement if you are referring to the "current" three (3) Yamhill County Commissioners.

More Commissioners means "higher taxes" and higher employee "overheads" to accommodate staff increases.

What is needed is more informed voters that will elect good stewards of the public's trust-Note* the number of Land Use Board of Appeals "Remands." Review the last "bogus" "Land Use Decision" in which a land-owner, on EFU Zoned lands plants a few "grape-vines" and the Commissioners agree to allow an expansion of a "Bed& Breakfast/Hotel complex."

And you want more Commissioners making similar decisions?

Not me.

David S. Wall


One consideration: if we have 5 commissioners, three would be a quorum; two could discuss issues on the side and go into a meeting with a loaded vote. Also, if the current amount of compensation was divided five ways, would the result be a livable wage for each commissioner? We could then go with Trump’s theory and only well-to-do white men would want to run.


“Everything that costs money has to be carefully considered,” he said. “I used to tell the kids that the cost of everything has to be measured in the cost of bunches of carrots.” And we want to add more great thinkers like Kulla? God help us.

Lindsay Berschauer

As a member of the county budget committee, I can tell you that nothing that involves government expansion is "revenue or budget neutral." Warning signs should be flashing when you hear someone say that. The cost of adding two fully-loaded commissioners isn't just a one time hit. The escalating costs grow over time. We are already dipping into our reserve funds to cover increased PERS and healthcare liabilities. Oregon faces a looming recession. We don't need to be spending precious resources on more elected officials. Some may say I'm "talking myself out of the position" since I'm currently running for the Commission. My response is that first and foremost I am a taxpayer and voter and I wouldn't support this as a county priority. This has been in front of voters before and the concept failed. Let's get back to taking care of our most vulnerable populations. Your testimony this Thursday at 10am at the County Courthouse is welcome. I'll see you there.


YC citizens were asking about expanding the council? That was what people he asked wanted? He's lying as usual. Kulla's intent is to marginalize the other members influence by any means possible..


Lindsay Berschauer

Are you actually qualified to be on the budget committee? It's seems like a conflict of interest with you on YCAP with Mary and also your Newberg Fire Board affiliations seem to prevent you from fitting the bill for that position (and your desire to run for commissioner). Your "approval" of the needle exchange at a budget committee meeting (1/3 of vote YCAP members vs 3 commissioners at formal setting) should not be forgotten

More Commissioners? This is a horrible idea. I think gathering signatures to demand the taxpayers appoint committee members vs the commissioners - now THAT would be a huge asset to the County.


Stella, you want to have “taxpayers appoint committee members” would that work? Do you want to hold elections for committee assignments? In what way would that “be a huge asset to the county”?



Yes I would like them to be elected OR a group voted in by taxpayers to appoint them

The same individuals are appointed/reappointed to various committees or have flat out "no term limits" as is the Parkway Committee. Count how many members total (if they are listed) and see how many are same people and/or same law firm

Look at the budget committee!!! Public position is filled with government employee. Look at subcommittee on homelessness.... service workers who benefit from homelessness. No public person there (they are voted in by committee!) Look at the different committees with zero meeting notices!

Money well spent for taxpayers to appoint committee members IF you want oversight. The needle exchange just approved with six deliveries in Mac by ambulance would not have happened..... and money went to name different than non profit "parent"? Hmm

Do we have a tax payers united type oversight committee? We need one!


Stella: I wish I could suggest a place to live that would meet your high standards. But, I doubt there is such a place.



Oversight = high standards? How many committees are you on lol


I do wonder how someone could assert that they know enough about Mr. Kulla’s interactions with his constituents to call him a liar? Or to presume to assign corrupt intentions to his interactions with his fellow commissioners?

For the record: I believe that this Commissioner is an ethical man who is working hard to represent us. He earned my vote, he continues to have my support and respect.


I see where this is headed - annexation by Metro and turn Yamhill County into the 4th urban county of Oregon.


Kulla envisions splitting existing salary money five ways to provide for the new members without adding salary expense.

I gave a call to the County Commission office to find out a little bit more about this ordinance and this is a shifty attempt on the part of Kulla to look like he wants to split salaries five ways when he knows and so does Nicole M. that the "compensation committee" is chosen by the commissioners effectively making it look like he wants to be fiscally responsible when in reality he will get his cake and it eat too.





The compensation committee makes recommendations to the board regarding the pay of county elected officials. It doesn’t have the authority to set the salaries.



Do you have any actual basis for your Metro claim, or does it amount to pure speculation on your part, a conspiracy theory spun from whole cloth?

How does one possibly leap from such a modest and unrelated goal -- simply expanding the board from three to five members -- to a bid to annex ourselves into Metro? Has anyone, elected or not, ever advocated such a thing?

This sort of wild, unfounded accusation does nothing to further discussion of the merits, if any, of expansion of board membership.



Also unhelpful – specious accusations of lying and nefarious ulterior motives. Appreciate your observations, Steve.

On a positive note, did everyone see that the “News~Register” just got a shout-out from our brilliant native son, Nick Kristof?



pure speculation. but 20 years ago McMinnville and Newberg were both half the current population. We’re already seeing some of the same asinine things Metro population wants like a ridiculous trail out into the middle of nowhere. There are only 5 miles of space between Newberg and Sherwood. Newberg has almost fused with Dundee. And they want tons of illegals to come here, it’s just a matter of time we get swallowed up and become the next frontier. I give it 20 years and Newberg and McMinnville will be the next Hillsboro and Beaverton with population 100,000 and it will be nonstop sprawl from the Casino to Longview Washington.



Let’s have more taxpayer funded administrative bloat.

Three commissioners is just fine Kulla.

Enjoy your one term.

Lindsay Berschauer

Hi Stella, to address some of your comments...Yes I am qualified to sit on the county budget committee. I have been analyzing state and district budgets for almost ten years in Oregon. My scrutiny of the PPS School Bond budget brought the project to a hault when voters rejected it after months of public testimony on the issue. My work on analyzing the CRC boondoggle (along with my counterparts to the north) was instrumental in providing increased budget transparency and ultimately the WA Senate could not ignore the waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars, let alone public sentiment in Vancouver against the bridge project. Now, Oregon and WA are facing a $140M bill by Sept 30 for the incredible waste of federal tax dollars. I conducted budget analyses for our late Secretary of State Dennis Richardson when he was Co-Chair of Ways & Means. And I've run a successful business since 2013, performing every role within the company. With regard to the Newberg Fire Board, I ran for and won the position as a budget hawk. I was concerned about the nearly 500% increased cost to rural Newberg residents for fire service and was very clear about that in my campaign. I also supported City of Newberg residents who put a charter amendment on the ballot so that the city didn't get away with a backdoor property tax increase. The city council is now limited in how much they can raise taxes, based on voter participation. With regard to the Needle Exchange program, this was requested by HHS not YCAP. I was and remain very skeptical of this program which precipitated a lengthy debate in budget negotiations. I am concerned about the safety of our residents and whether or not a program like that will be successful. I asked HHS to provide documentation as to how the program will participate in cleaning up the cities in which it serves, and deliver measurables on reduced usage and health dept needs. Ultimately, it was supported by all three commissioners.

Lindsay Berschauer


I was a member of the compensation committee this year. We look at the total compensation of commissioners and take their input and requests into consideration. Commissioner Starrett was the only commissioner to provide input and asked that the salary level remain the same (no raises, no increased compensation). The committee makes a recommendation to the Board for a vote. We recommended no change to the compensation levels and the Board voted to approve that. With regard to the discussion over a 5 member board, I have requested a comprehensive budget impact statement from the county of what that would cost taxpayers over time. (Assuming commissioners would be added in perpetuity and not subject to budget cuts). The reality is that we cannot afford our increased PERS liabilities at this point in time. Thank goodness previous commissioners have been fairly good at boosting reserve funds because we certainly dipped into them this budget cycle. The more we grow the size of government (including adding two new commissioners) the more pressure on our budget. The Legislative Revenue Office has been warning of a recession in Oregon for several cycles. If that happens, the cuts will be ugly and my argument is that now isn't a good time to be adding two new "fully loaded" elected officials.

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