EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Lane County taxpayers may be asked to dig deeper to help fund public safety services. Lane County Commissioners want to hear more from residents before they decide whether or not to put a levy on the May election ballot.
Among other things, the money would double the number of available beds in the county jail.
A research firm hired by the county surveyed 600 local residents. It found a property tax would have the best chance of passing. A tax of fifty cents per every thousand dollars of assessed value per year would pay for 276 jail beds. As it stands only 138 beds are available. The county would once again be able to hold all Measure 11 offenders.
Commissioner Sid Leiken says the bottom line is the county would be a safer place. “It's nothing that's new. This has been coming up for many years; here's where we are today. And ultimately, it's the citizens’ county - it’s their public safety system. And our obligation is to do the best we can with the revenue that we have coming in.”
In order to put a measure on the May ballot, the board must make a decision by March 13. But first they want more public feedback. A public hearing is set for Tuesday, January 29 at 5:30 PM. A second hearing will be held Wednesday morning, January 30 at 9:00 AM. Both hearings will be held in Harris Hall in the Lane County Public Service Building in downtown Eugene.