GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Josephine County votes no on a public safety levy for the sixth time. Now, officials are taking a look at those vote tallies, and considering what comes next.
Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says they are down to one deputy patrolling the streets. He says the safety of county residents can’t be guaranteed until something is done.
Vote tallies show it was a narrow margin on the levy vote. Voters county-wide decided against it by a difference of 565 votes: 51 percent to 49 percent. In Grants Pass, the levy actually passed by a relative landslide: 59 percent to 41 percent.
Sheriff Gilbertson says the levy would have allowed them to add nine deputies for a total of twelve. He says it also would have allowed them to continue operating the jail at current levels.
Officials are now looking at other options to fund law enforcement, one of which is to re-allocate county funds in the short term.
This also comes as lawmakers consider a bill that would allow the governor to declare a state of public safety fiscal emergency in certain counties. That would allow local government agencies to merge to provide services. It would also allow for an income tax assessment to be imposed. That bill hasn’t come to a House vote.