Springfield tax levy up for vote in November

Springfield tax levy up for vote in November

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Springfield officials say they need a little bit more money in the fight against crime, and they hope enough voters agree with them in November, when another renewal of a tax levy for police and jail services is on the ballot.

It's the largest municipal jail in Oregon, and official say it's indispensable in the fight against crime.

Springfield voters are deciding the fate of ballot measure 20-273, which would renew a five-year tax levy for the Springfield City Jail and police services.

Chief Richard Lewis says the measure would pay for 41 jobs in police and jail services and municipal court, the same as now, but costs have risen.

"I'm not going to sugar-coat it, there's employees costs in there and PERS costs," said Chief Lewis. "All those factors together have gotten us to the 1-40."

That means a property tax rate of a dollar per 40,000, up 12 cents from the current tax rate.

The chief says more medical services were added this summer when women inmates were added to the jail for the first time, but Lewis adds that the jail continues to pay big crime-fighting dividends.

A case in point, Chief Lewis says that property crimes in Springfield have actually dropped 31% since the jail opened in 2010.

"An individual who's out getting into people's cars, they're out getting into 5 or 10 cars a night, easily," said Lewis. "You take that individual off the street for 30 days, that's a significant impact."

Plus, before the jail, Lewis says that six out of 10 people arrested for a crime in Springfield would skip their court appearances. Since 2010, the rate had dropped to 27 percent.

"My anticipation is now that we have females and are holding the females accountable, I'm confident that 27 percent will actually drop further," said Lewis.

Voters will get the final say on November 7th.

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