By Ron Brown
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — It has been almost three weeks since Josephine County voters turned down a public safety levy. The impacts from that vote are now beginning to be felt in Josephine County with mass jail releases and layoffs in all public safety departments.
On Friday, elections officials verified the ballot totals from that levy. Josephine County Clerk Art Harvey is looking over the final vote totals for the May public safety levy that went down by a 57 to 43 percent margin.
“If you take the cumulative vote for the city of Grants Pass, the law enforcement levy passed in the city by a narrow margin. Out in the county precincts it didn’t do so well. It only passed in three of those 35 precincts,” states Harvey.
While some may be hoping the county will try again in November, at least two county commissioners don’t think that’s likely to happen.
“I don’t think there’s an appetite for putting a levy on during this calendar year, with a Presidential election and all those things that kind gets lost in the crush,” says County Commissioner Don Reedy. “If it goes, I think it’ll be next May probably, the first time.”
“November does us no good as a county government financially, because the tax bills have already gone out and will be going out. So that’s done for this ‘12-‘13 fiscal year,” County Commissioner Harold Haugen says. “It may have some value for the next fiscal year, but I just think it’s a futile effort from my perspective looking at the results of where it was out in the county. It was beat pretty badly in the county.”
Both Haugen and Reedy say it won’t be long before many county residents will begin to feel the impacts of reduced law enforcement services in the county, and are skeptical of any federal or state financial rescue.