Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023 @ 3:12 p.m. / Elections, Local Government, Oregon

Survey Asking Curry County Voters Their Opinion on Proposed Tax Measure to Launch Soon

Curry County voters may receive a survey from a Salem-based research company asking their opinion on a potential tax levy to support, among other things, local law enforcement.

Nelson Research is expected to launch the survey in about 10 days, Commissioner Jay Trost told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Wednesday. The goal is to have the results broken down into usable data for the Board of Commissioners by Jan. 20. If commissioners decide to move forward with a tax levy, it could appear on voters' May 21, 2024 primary election ballot, according to Trost.

“We’re working on a funding solution for the county, particularly for law enforcement,” he told his colleagues at their Dec. 21 meeting. “We started out with the idea that we’re going to gather information on what seems to be the best course of action.”

According to Trost, the survey will ask voters if they would support a three-year tax levy, a split-rate levy or if they would support creating a law enforcement district. He said he hoped the survey would help commissioners narrow their options down to what voters would most be amenable to.

The Board of Commissioners entered into an agreement with Nelson Research on Aug. 2 to conduct a “pre-bond survey.”

According to the company’s proposal, the research would include a 12-minute phone-online hybrid survey of 390 likely voters. It would gauge their opinion on the county’s performance, their own economic circumstances, support and prioritization for county departments and services and whether or not they would support a bond measure or other alternatives.

Nelson Research’s survey and report cost the county $19,700.
On Aug. 21, Director of County Operations Ted Fitzgerald said a levy has been tried before, but the county wanted to find out what voters are interested in before spending the money to try another ballot measure.

“We have issues with, specifically, law enforcement coverage in the unincorporated areas,” Fitzgerald said. “If we can work through [that], if we can address that through a bond, that would be great.”

As a newcomer to the Board of Commissioners in March, Trost had asked his colleagues to consider surveying voters on a potential levy that would help pay for a 24-7 sheriff’s office. He suggested using one-time money to hire a consultant to gauge that feedback.

On Wednesday, Trost mentioned a Nov. 7, 2023 vote in Josephine County that created a special district to fund law enforcement. The new district would increase property taxes by 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, Jefferson Public Radio reported on Nov. 8.

It’s estimated to raise more than $5.5 million in its first year, $5.8 million in its second year and $6 million in its third year. That money would fund patrol and dispatch services for the sheriff’s office, JPR reported.

Trost said he was heartened by the outcome of that Josephine County vote.

“We feel that this year Josephine being able to pass their law enforcement district was a tremendous victory for the citizens in Josephine County,” he said. “I think that prompted a bit of confidence in us exploring this as well.”


© 2024 Lost Coast Communications Contact: