Proposed Josephine County Tax Levy: What It Is and What it Means for You

, Posted: Mon, April 23 2012 at 8:00 PM, Updated: Mon, April 23 2012 at 8:18 PM

Whether you're for the proposed tax levy in Josephine County, or against it, it's likely you have an opinion on the hot button issue.

"I think we need to pass it, so we don't increase crime by not having protection," said Josephine County resident, Dave Hannum.

"I'm going to vote no," said Jj Jones, who lives in Grants Pass.

County commissioners said while it's not an easy decision to pay more taxes, a "yes" vote is a must.

"The big issue is what are people going to do if we are operating at the level of no Sheriff's Office," inquired Josephine County Commissioner Harold Haugen.

County timber payments from the federal government have dried up and now Josephine County is scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find money to fund public safety.

It's a major blow to the Sheriff's Office which could be reduced to three contracted patrol deputies with duties in other counties. As for the jail? There could be only 30 beds, for the most part, filled only by the most serious offenders.

Under the levy, residents will pay $1.99 per $1000 in property value.

With property values in Josephine County averaging around $160,000 it could mean more than $300 more in taxes each year for some.

Currently Josephine County has the lowest property taxes in the state. Even with an increase it's relatively low.

"There has to be other thing that can be done besides putting this on the shoulders of homeowners," said Jj Jones.

"An extra $200 to keep the streets safe? I'm down for that," said Grants Pass resident Jason Lawrence.

While commissioner Harold Haugen has faith the levy will pass, it's all up in the air until votes are counted on May 15th.

If you're still unsure what your stance is, be sure to pick up a voters' pamphlet. Inside there are arguments for and against the tax levy.

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