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Commissioners Draft Tax Levy Description

EUGENE, Ore. — A public safety tax levy is the hot topic at Tuesday night’s Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting.

At 5:30 p.m., commissioners will hold a public hearing on whether to put a five-year property tax levy on the May ballot.

Last week commissioners asked staff to draft ballot language, and here’s what they came up with:

“Shall Lane County restore jail beds and critical youth treatment services by levying 55 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, commencing 2013?”

This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than 3 percent.

Sheriff Tom Turner has said this tax revenue would open, at a minimum, 255 existing beds within the county jail.

“It’s reasonable to suggest that we will not take action tonight that we will wait because if there is some issues in the ballot title that maybe some of the board aren’t comfortable with its appropriate to ask staff to go back and edit that,” said Sid Leiken, Lane County Commissioner.

Some of the tax levy money would go to youth services for juvenile offenders. The levy would also require the sheriff to produce an audited report to ensure accountability.

If passed, a 55-cent tax levy for the average homeowner in Lane County translates into about $83 a year.

Commissioners say if a decision isn’t made Tuesday, next week is pretty much the deadline.

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