Lane County Board of County Commissioners will consider a ballot measure to fund public safety. by Pat FarrSaturday, February 2nd, 2013
On January 30, after six hours of public testimony and debate, the Board of County Commissioners instructed Liane Richardson, County Administrator, to provide draft language for a ballot measure to fund public safety. The vote was 5-0.
Debate centered around the amount of the levy, which would be assessed as property taxes, the services to be funded should the levy pass and accountability of spending to assure the public that the money would be spent as they intended.
Draft language was provided on Friday February 1:
For Jail and Critical Youth Services, a five-year levy
Shall Lane County restore jail beds and critical youth treatment services by levying $0.55 per $1000 assessed valuation, commencing 2013. This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent?
Lane County proposes a five-year spending plan that would allow Sheriff Tom Turner to utilize tax revenue and open, at a minimum, 255 existing jail beds within the County Jail. The revenue would further be dedicated to youth services for juvenile offenders, including counseling, secure treatment and detention services. On an annual basis, the Sheriff will produce an audited report to ensure accountability. Beginning 2013, the Lane County property tax rate will temporarily increase by $.55 per $1000 assessed valuation; thus for the median home in Lane County, valued at $151,000, the annual tax payment to Lane County would increase by $83. After five years, this tax rate automatically sunsets, unless re-approved by Lane County voters. This revenue will effectively halt the revolving door at the jail for violent offenders and enable the Sheriff to hold those criminals for their entire sentences. It will ensure that more of our community’s youth offenders receive treatment services. The funds must be placed into a restricted special revenue fund specifically earmarked for jail and youth services. The funds must be placed into a restricted special revenue fund specifically earmarked for jail and youth services. The estimated tax which would be raised by this levy are 2013/14-$14,973,375; 2014/15-$15,272,843; 2015/16-$15,578,299; 2016/17-$15,889,865 and 2017/18 $16,207,663 for a total of $77,922,045.
There will be a public hearing to listen to interested parties’ opinions of the consideration Tuesday evening, February 5 beginning at 5:30 at Harris Hall in the Lane County Public Service Building.
The Board of Commissioners will then consider adopting, amending or rejecting the proposal.