Grants Pass City Council approves food & beverage tax, utility fee

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The City of Grants Pass passed a motion on a 3% food and beverage tax along with a utility fee to fund public safety in a city council meeting Wednesday.

Many residents were frustrated with the choice.

This is after three hours of discussion on the topic and two other motions failing.

On Wednesday, NBC5 reported the council had narrowed their options down to a sales tax, a food and beverage tax, or a utility fee to help fully staff the police and fire departments.

“We’re running. 24/7, 365 for the people of Grants Pass and we love to do it,” said Bracken Sharp, vice president of Grants Pass Professional Firefighters. “We love to do it, but we need help, desperately.”

Some citizens spoke at the meeting, saying they’ll accept whatever tax or fee to fund the police and fire departments. Others wanted there to be no taxes or fees at all.

While citizens and council members alike said there was no clear-cut choice, everyone agreed that having less public safety isn’t an option.

After hearing public comment, Mayor Bristol expressed that this decision isn’t easy for them to make at all.

“Half of us have jobs, the other half are retired, but we all pay taxes just like you do,” Mayor Bristol said. “We have absolutely nothing to gain by this except for securing the financial future of our city and our public safety.”

Council member Valerie Lovelace expressed that the fire and police departments are there for the citizens of Grants Pass 24/7, and funding them through a tax is the least the city can do.

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Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
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