By Gil Gilbertson
Josephine County Sheriff
In the voter’s pamphlet for the May 15 primary election, the section
on Measure 17.43 (the so-called “Criminal Justice Levy”) contains
some factual errors that deserve correction.
In the “Argument Against,” it is suggested that local government “has
done little to curb rampant spending.” This is untrue. Since 2007,
the Sheriff’s Office has taken a number of steps to improve efficiency
while increasing service levels. In the process, we have saved the community
approximately $12 million.
It is likewise inaccurate to say
that the levy’s purpose is to “advocate
for an increase” in taxes to maintain the “status quo.” Even
if the levy passes, the Sheriff’s Office may need to lay off up to12
deputies over the next four years. The funding level sought by the levy represents
a reduction of approximately 20% compared to what would be required to maintain
current levels of service. The levy seeks the minimum funding required to
support mandated and necessary services to protect public safety, on a temporary
basis, until a permanent, stable alternative source of funding is established.
Keep in mind we are not currently a fully 24/7 service.
Finally, County Clerk candidate
Sandi Cassanelli promulgates a false claim, that the Sheriff’s Office
actually accelerated spending rates to consume four years of federal subsidy
funds within three years. Fellow County Clerk
candidate Dale Matthews and County Commissioner candidate Mark Seligman publicly
support her in this misrepresentation.
The actual budget figures, readily
available from the Josephine County CFO, clearly show that funds were carried
over from year to year in such a way
that four years of funding were actually spread beyond their original budgeting
period. Indeed, the budget for this coming fiscal year includes $2.3 million
of carryover funding of this type. The Sheriff’s Office more efficiently
managed our resources in such a way as to stretch the funding available to
cover a longer period than originally envisioned.
These are candidates for public
office, purposefully advancing misinformation. The figures to counter their
claims are in the public record. If this is
an example of their ability to research the facts, pay attention to details,
and extrapolate information, I would encourage the County’s voters
to consider whether they believe these candidates possess the necessary qualifications
to lead our County into an uncertain future.
Ask for the actual budget figures yourself. They are easily obtained.
Finally, a simple and accurate
way to estimate the impact the levy will have on your own property taxes
can be found on the County’s website.
Simply type in your address for the answer.
Editor’s Note: While the US~Observer respects Sheriff Gil Gilbertson
and holds him in the highest regard, we don’t support any form of property
tax. Property taxes violate a property owner's constitutional rights. We
also don’t support giving Josephine County District Attorney Stephen
Campbell any public money, whatsoever. He is a corrupt prosecutor who has
factually attempted to falsely convict innocent people.
Gil Gilbertson asked to get his message out and the US~Observer provided
the space out of respect for our Sheriff.