MADRAS, OR -- Tuesday, Jefferson County voters decided against raising property taxes to support a jail bond. Jefferson County is set to lose $750,000 in fees in the next year because Crook County's contract to house their inmates in Madras won't be renewed' Crook County's new jail is due to open next April.
The levy would've raised property taxes by $.46 per $1,000 of assessed value. Sheriff Jim Adkins says he plans to ask voters again in May 2019, "I'll be talking to people to see what the issues may have been when I go out in May, the price is going to be the same, as we did it right down to the bare bones." He tells KBND News, "Nobody likes to raise taxes, but if you want to keep people in jail who violate the law, it's a price that we're all going to have to pay."
If the measure fails a second time, Sheriff Adkins says there will be layoffs, "I've been trying to just encourage my staff that this isn't the end of the world, we do have a lot of work, a lot of campaigning ahead of us going into May. They've all seen the numbers that I'll have to reduce staff between 46 and 50%, and that worries a lot of my people."
Jefferson County's current jail bond expires in June. According to Sheriff Adkins, the county needs the money to keep the facility staffed and able to house prisoners, "We just regroup. My work is cut out for me because now we go back out in May, and get it on the ballot in May and see if we can't get voters to pass it then."