EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- As the Lane County Board of Commissioners is on the cusp of making a decision whether or not to pursue a levy to help fund the Sheriff's Office, we're getting a sharper picture of what the levy may look like with results of a second public opinion survey.
The second poll was conducted during the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013, measuring more than 600 Lane County voters. The results showed about the same opinion as the first poll taken by the same company last July.
The poll shows that a slight majority of votes would support a 50-cent property tax to help fund the Sheriff's Office. Researchers who did the polling said that all of the money in their scenario would go to the Lane County Jail.
NewsSource 16 spoke with Sheriff Tom Turner about the results of the survey on Tuesday afternoon, hours before the official presentation to Lane County's Board of Commissioners and the public.
Sheriff Turner says he is encouraged by the results. Turner says that a 5-year, 50-cent property tax levy would likely ensure that the county can hold all of its Measure 11 offenders. Currently, some of these offenders are being let out of the Lane County Jail due to lack of capacity. Releasing Measure 11 offenders before trial is against Oregon law; however, the Sheriff's Office maintains that it has no choice due to lack of funding.
While the money wouldn't be a silver bullet for Lane County's on-going public safety funding issues, Sheriff Turner says the extra funds would be an extremely positive start.
"It makes me confident that we can come to a public safety solution together and that's what I am encouraged with tonight,” said Sheriff Turner.
The Sheriff is now asking for public comment on the possible levy and the future funding picture of the Sheriff's Office.
"From what I've heard from the community in the past here is that it has to be very specific, so that's exactly the kind of comment we need tonight and how that would support [citizens] here in our community and how that would work into their lives and that's exactly what we want to hear. So we're encouraging people to come down and talk to us, to make their voice heard so that we can get this right,” said Sheriff Turner.
The survey results also showed voters likely would not support any other levy that goes higher than 50 cents per every $1,000 of assessed property value. That would cost a $150,000 homeowner about $75 a year.
The public safety levy discussion continues Wednesday morning at 9 AM at Harris Hall in the Lane County Public Service Building in downtown Eugene.
A decision on the levy could come Wednesday morning which could get it on the ballot by May.