By Bryan Navarro
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The mayor of Grants Pass is pitching a new, and smaller property tax that he says could stop the crisis.
Under the Mayor’s proposal, several elements of the criminal justice system would be back to 100% of where they were before the May level failed. That includes reopening scores of beds in the Josephine County Jail. The levy would also reinstate the district attorney’s office, juvenile services, and animal control. However, rural sheriff’s patrols are not included.
Mayor Mike Murphy made his case to the Grants Pass City Council and board of county commissioners Wednesday. His proposed levy would raise property taxes one dollar, 15 cents per thousand of assessed value for two years. If passed in September, taxes could be collected in November and put in to use by January; but if the levy is on the November presidential ballot, it would be delayed a full year.
“By doing something now, we have the opportunity to save a whole year of the pain that we’re going through now,” says the Grants Pass Mayor.
The board of commissioners would have to approve the levy, and say they feel May was the best opportunity. For a special election to be valid, 50% of voters must turn out. For comparison, the election when Sandi Cassanelli was recalled saw less than 40% and was deemed “pretty good.”
Any public conversation will need to happen quickly. The deadline to create the September special election is in four weeks, July 19th.