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Central Point votes unanimously to join Jail Service District

The prospect of a new Jackson County Jail is moving forward after the Central Point City Council voted unanimously to join the Jail Service District Thursday night. Joining the district will allow Central Point voters to vote 'yes' or 'no' should the jail make it to the May 2020 ballot.

Posted: Dec 12, 2019 11:09 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- The prospect of a new Jackson County Jail is moving forward after the Central Point City Council voted unanimously to join the Jail Service District Thursday night. Joining the district will allow Central Point voters to vote 'yes' or 'no' should the jail make it to the May 2020 ballot.

The Central Point City Council passed two resolutions, one for if the City of Talent chooses to join and one without their votes. The Talent City Council voted 3-2 not to join the Jail Service District back in November but a city can always be annexed into a district later on. Last week, the Ashland City Council voted 5-1 to join the district after putting a vote on hold

"A lot of people have voiced frustration about the revolving door of the jail and while we've made some good improvements there, we are simply limited by space, design and funding," Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said. "This is a way for people to look at the package if it gets on the ballot in May to see if this is a good investment for them and their tax dollars."

Should the jail make the May 2020 and voters pass it, here's how much it will cost Jackson County property owners without Talent:

  • For every $1,000 a property is worth, the owner is taxed 87 cents.
  • So if a home is worth $200,000, $174 per year is added to their property taxes.

Only one Central Point resident spoke to the Central Point City Council hoping councilmembers would vote against joining the district.

"Where are we going to get the money? I've been on a fixed income since '96," he said. "It's ridiculous. There has got to be a better way."

Jackson County has already purchased a plot of land in North Medford for a new jail.

"A new jail would really benefit our community and this is just one more step to getting the voters to look at it," Sheriff Sickler added.

There are still a few more steps before a new jail can get to the May 2020. The Medford City Council still needs to vote whether or not to join the Jail Service District. If the city decides to join, then the jail heads to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

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