The public safety levy tasked with temporarily holding up the county’s sheriff’s budget has been removed from November’s ballot, according to county officials.
In early August, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to place the $2.38 per $1,000 public safety levy on the ballot. The five-year levy would allow commissioners to tax up to that amount each year, with all of the money going straight to the sheriff’s budget.
The levy, if passed, would have generated $16 million for sheriff’s services in the first year, allowing the sheriff’s patrols and the jail to continue at current service levels.
During the August commissioner meeting, Commissioner Chris Boice said he had “extremely mixed feelings” about the levy because he doesn’t support new taxes. Boice noted that neighboring counties like Josephine, Coos and Lane have had to make similar decisions and that significant public safety cuts had been made in those counties before voters agreed to new taxes.
In Josephine County, Boice said wings of the jail were closed and patrol divisions were laid off.
Both Boice and Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.