Josephine County public safety leaders hope Measure 17-74 will pass

Josephine County Sheriff's Office, Nov. 3rd 2016, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Measure 17-74 would fund deputies, prosecution, jail capacity and treatment facilities in Josephine County.

Sheriff Dave Daniel said the need for this continues to grow with a public safety crisis across the region.

"It's not a pretty picture. The deputies are running the wheels off our cars. The jail is at a staffing level where it really can't go any less," Daniel said.

Petitioners of 17-74 said money through the Secure Rural School Fund for law enforcement will no longer be available by the end of June 2017. Many versions of public safety levies have been on the ballot before, but Colene Martin said now the county is at a breaking point.

"We're calling this one the lucky 13. There's actually been 12 before this. A couple of them actually did pass in the very beginning but the state laws changed those. So we're calling this one lucky 13 and we're very hopeful," Martin said.

The levy is $1.42 per one thousand assessed dollars. For a $150,000 home that's about $18.00 a month. Petitioners said it's the tax price that has prevented people from voting in favor of these levies in the past.

"Just people who don't want to pay taxes. It's basically a no tax position. I take it as a vote for crime," Jim Dittmer said.

If the measure does not pass county commissioners will look for other funding or cuts that need to be made.

Some opposed worry if passed, if taxes go up, rental rates would as well. They say the majority of the county has voted no several times before, and simply can't afford it.


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