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Commissioners Talk Property Taxes

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Juvenile services in Josephine County is one of many programs that could get a boost if voters approve a district property tax. There will be one more meeting on the topic before it’s expected to make it onto Josephine County’s May ballot.

A standing-room only crowd gathered for hours on Friday, debating the proposal. A private organization called Securing Our Safety or SOS, recommends services to the county through multiple potential funding sources.

One of those options is to add a district property tax to all in Josephine County except for those in the city limits of Cave Junction. On the potential receiving end of the funds are the Josephine County Jail, the Juvenile Justice System, the District Attorney’s Office, Court Security and Animal Control.

A representative from each took the podium Friday to talk about how much money they’re asking for and what the money would go toward. For example, the Josephine County Sheriff said the jail could house many more inmates if the property owners in the county paid anywhere from a $1.17 per thousand to a $1.20 per thousand.

Many members of the public at the meeting disagreed with adding the property tax to solve the county’s problems, but most everyone did agree that something needs to be done to improve county services quickly. The measure passed at the end of the meeting Friday with a 2 to 1 vote. The commissioners set a maximum total for the district tax, which is a $1.85 per thousand dollars of property.

The final hearing is Thursday, February 7th at the Ann Basker Auditorium on Northwest Sixth Street in Grants Pass. After that meeting, the measure will likely appear on the May 21st ballot.