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Utility Fee to Pay for Police Facility

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MEDFORD, Ore. — On Thursday, Medford City Council members voted to impose a $2.00 per month utility fee onto local residents in order to pay for new police headquarters.

Medford City Council members have the authority to impose the fee without asking the public to vote on it. Councilman John Michaels says the increasing cost of construction and changes in the bond market forced the council to act now. “We’re in a sweet spot right now. We can get things built at a reasonable price and the bond market is down but it’s starting to go back up,” said Michaels.

So waiting for the public to decide would cost money and safety. “Our first charge as city council is really to look after public safety. That is number one and we felt that this was a very important public safety issue and that we had to take action on it without waiting.”

Medford Police Chief Tim George says they’ve waited on the new building and parking structure long enough. “We’ve been putting ten pounds of sugar in a five pound bag for a long time.”

Construction could begin in July of 2014 and a project of this size could take 18 months to complete.