Elections | Oregon

Two Timber Counties Reject Public Safety Tax Levies

OPB | May 22, 2013 2:19 p.m. | Updated: May 22, 2013 7:13 p.m.

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Josephine County Sheriff's officer -- Photo courtesy Josephine County

Josephine County Sheriff's officer -- Photo courtesy Josephine County

Two Southwest Oregon counties are preparing for deeper cuts to public safety services after the election day defeat of short-term property tax increases.

In Josephine county, a three year safety levy was defeated by about 500 votes. 

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson cut 80 percent of his staff last year. 

Now, Gilbertson says he’s facing an immediate $650,000 shortfall. If the county can’t find the money, he will lay off 4 employees and release more inmates from the jail.

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson

In Curry County, a 5-year safety levy lost by about 800 votes. Commissioner David Brock Smith says the county will make cuts when it draws up its new budget in June.

He explained, “There really isn’t anywhere to cut out of budgets any more, now it’s what departments stay and what departments go.”

Smith says Curry County may attempt to pass another property tax increase in a special election in September.

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