MERLIN, Ore. — Supporters of improved animal control in Josephine County are asking the public to support a ballot measure in May that would ensure animal control services for the next three years.
Petition signature gatherers are working now to collect nearly 3,000 signatures to put an eight cent-per-thousand dollar tax levy on the ballot.
The Josephine County Animal Shelter has thawed out since its bout with frozen pipes a month ago. But animal control officials and supporters say the economic future looks chilling if more funding is not found soon. So petitions are being circulated to put a measure on the May ballot that would nearly double the agencies current budget at just eight cents per $1,000 assessed value.
“Right now service are about one-fourth of what they should be. We fully intend to fully fund this entire group…It’s going to take about $600,000. Right now the current budget is about 300,000. So like I say, we’re not even half staffed,” said Carl Raskin, Co-Petitioner.
So volunteers are picking up much of the slack at the shelter in Merlin. But that’s also taking a toll.
“Right now, some of volunteers are getting burned out. So, we really need to focus on this and get full-time people there. I think it’s just going work out great!” Raskin said.
County Clerk Art Harvey says supporters have until Feb. 19 to turn in enough valid signatures to quality the measure for the May 2014 ballot.
Josephine County Animal shelter is a bare bones operation anyway. So an eight-cent levy for three years would give it the opportunity to continue operating without a lot of frills or other ornamentation.
If approved by voters, the levy would raise about $509,000 the first year; $546,000 the second year, and more than $562,000 the third year.