Medford council passes raising public safety utility fee, buys Redwood Inn

MEDFORD, Ore – One of the biggest city council meeting’s of the year included a whopping 18 items that were discussed, including an increase to the public safety utility fee.

“This council has caught this hot potato that it’s an absolute necessity and it’s unfortunate we’ve waited this long because the bite is much longer than it would have been addressed or a previous council had addressed this and we need increment bites along the way,” council member Tim D’Alessandro said.

The vote passed 6 to 1.

The public safety utility fee, that Medford residents pay every month, is currently $9.42.

But now, that fee is $12.40, an increase of $2.98.

“This particular item if I were to vote on it I would support it,” Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino said. “It’s transformational. This is the type of thing that is going to change the city of Medford. This is long overdue and it’s something that needs to be done.”

The additional money will go towards, adding 10 more patrol officers for MPD and six more firefighters.

Medford fire also wants to add more EMS staff and MPD wants to add three officers to its livability team.

The council also decided to buy the Redwood Inn, which is part of Project Turnkey, for pay $300,000.

“There will be at the end of the day it will be over $3 million in public money into this building,” Medford deputy city manger Kelly Madding said. “And while we won’t operate it, using owning it maintains it integrity as a community asset.”

The city takes on responsibility, of up to $1.4 million in funding needed to finish renovations on the project.

The council approved spending nearly a million dollars on a study, to figure out if a third freeway interchange, at South Stage Road is necessary for the city.

Rules for psilocybin that establish time, use and manner regulations for psilocybin-related businesses was not passed and will be looked at next year.

The city council plans to meet next on January 5, when three new members are sworn in.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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