MEDFORD, Ore. – A service district would set the extension up for dedicated county funds as opposed to relying dwindling general funds.
Normally it takes thousands of signatures just to get that on the ballot, but with commissioners’ help, the extension could be getting a free pass. For Braydon Dunbar, 4-H runs generations deep.
“Both of his parents were involved in 4-H.,” Dunbar’s grandmother, Kim Skomerza commented. “I was involved in 4-H when I was a child, he’s my grandson.”
This year was Braydon’s first in the program. After showing his cows and lambs, it seems he’s off to a good start.
“I got reserve champion in showmanship,” Dunbar said. “It uses up a lot of time, and it’s really fun.”
The question is how long will the program be around for him?
“If nothing changes, which is just totally unreal, then extension would have to close,” Jack Duggan said, the chair of Friends of Research and Extension.
Given the funds they have remaining, that would mean just one more year for Braydon, but after today’s meeting there’s a little more hope.
“I think the commissioners are well aware that Jackson County would not be the same place without OSU Extension and Research Center,” Duggan added.
But there’s still a long way to go, it will take the help of county administrators to get the ballot measure up to par. Plus, it will take a lot of education to make sure that ballot measure isn’t for nothing.
“You’re always gonna have some arguments come forward that you didn’t expect, and we’re gonna have to be ready to respond to those,” Duggan said.
Braydon’s family counts themselves among the program’s most dedicated supporters. They say even those not enrolled in 4-H have a stake.
“It will affect their futures as well because it is raising the future leaders of our area,” Skomerza said.
Braydon says if the extension stays, so will he.
“I’d do it for a long time, until I had to be done.”
If a ballot measure does appear on the May ballot, officials say the service district tax would amount to a maximum of a nickel per $1,000 of property value.