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Commissioners Speak to D.C. Lawmakers

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MEDFORD, Ore. — County leaders take a message to Washington, D.C., telling lawmakers how to help struggling counties.

The main issue is the counties’ reliance on federal timber payments. County commissioners looked to lawmakers and fellow county leaders for alternatives during that trip to the Nation’s Capitol.

County commissioners across the Rogue Valley spoke to D.C. lawmakers about counties’ financial dependence on federal timber payments and learned from other commissioners how to work with the federal government.

Commissioner John Rachor said the dependence on timber payments can stop, if lawmakers allow for more timber, especially with payments drying up. Josephine County continues to struggle financially. A lack of funding and a failed tax levy last year gutted the county’s public safety departments.

Josephine County Commissioners are now outlining a new property tax levy at a $1.48 per thousand dollars of assessed value. Smaller than last year, but they say it’s better than the alternative. Josephine County Commissioner Cheryl Walker is pitching the plans for the new tax levy at Wednesday night’s Grants Pass City Council meeting.