Citizens applaud jail beds; Public Safety Taxing District in the works
Vocal city residents showed up to the Grants Pass public forum on the use of jail beds Thursday night and all in attendance told city staff and present councilors that although the beds are helping their assistance is only the tip of the iceberg.
Citizens spoke of crimes they have suffered at the hands of the criminal population and they spoke of other resources needed to dissolve the criminal element such as the reopening of the Juvenile Justice Center, providing mental health services and treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Councilor Dan DeYoung brought focus back to the main topic and said that although the 30 beds the city rents is merely a band-aid on the problem, it is all the city can afford to do and county citizens will have to step up if they want all the legs of the Criminal Justice System to be standing again. Citizens agreed unanimously that the beds were helpful but the City of Grants Pass needed more to solve the problem.
Pat Fahey and Councilor Mark Gatlin, speaking as representatives of the citizen’s group Securing Our Safety, ended the forum by discussing a citizen’s initiative sponsored by S.O.S. to form a Criminal Justice Taxing District that would tax county residents to pay for the full revitalization of the jail and juvenile justice systems. Then the current taxes which are paid for the jail would be rerouted to the Sheriff’s Office. Fahey made it clear that this is a citizen inspired taxing district and the County Commissioners were not involved in drafting the proposal. Fahey said S.O.S. is in the process of collecting 2,200 signatures in order to place the levy on the May ballot.