Jackson County citizens don’t support Surcharge

From JaCo commissioner Don Skundrick

During budget hearings for FY 13-14, the budget committee made several budget cuts in addition to those already included in the budget recommended by the County Administrator. Their intention was to further reduce operational dependence on one time rainy day funds.

In an effort to save those services, Commissioner Don Skundrick proposed a surcharge to support operations of the County Jail thus freeing up operating funds to support those services in danger of being cut. Although the Board currently has authority to impose a surcharge, they were only willing to implement it if a public opinion survey indicated general support and if it was then approved by voters as an item on the November 2013 ballot.

According to the survey of likely voters, approximately 57% oppose the surcharge, 31% were in favor and 11% were undecided. The survey results were the same across the board regardless of political affiliation, age, gender and place of residence. The number one reason, by a large margin, for not supporting the surcharge was indicated as “Can’t afford/too expensive.”

Of those services on the chopping block, respondents felt the Commissioners should do their best to save Veterans Services, Sheriff Officers, and human service agency funding in that order. Those services with the lowest priority were indicated as the OSU Extension and Experiment Station followed by Library Services.

The Survey also included questions to determine if citizens felt Jackson County was headed in the right direction. Overall, 46% agreed it was headed in the right direction, 31% felt it was off on the wrong track and 23% didn’t know. Democrats were somewhat more likely to say the county was headed in the right direction (52%), as opposed to Republicans (41%) and independents (44%).

The Board of Commissioners will discuss the results of this survey along with ideas about where the County will go from here at their regular televised meeting on Wednesday July 10th at 9:30am.



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