Local News: How much for public safety; Former principal passes; Gas prices dip; 9 statewide ballot measures

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Local News

How much money would it take?

Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner wants to know how much you would pay to feel safer.  The deadline for placing a public safety funding measure on the November ballot is five weeks away and, says Sheriff’s spokesperson Sergeant Carrie Carver, there have been some inquiries about the possibility of submitting something to voters.

That’s not yet been decided and officials haven’t had any public conversations about it, but there have been many questions as the result of a series of nine public forums hosted by the sheriff over the past few weeks.

Currently the department is providing 152 jail beds and there are 16 deputies on duty 16 hours a day.

In order to provide all 507 beds available in the jail, it would cost about $13.3-million each year.  That works out to 50-cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation or, on a typical value of about $150-thousand about $75 each year.

If voters wanted to open all the jail beds plus double the number of deputies and provide 24-hour patrols, it would cost about two-and-a-half times that:  $1.28-per thousand or just under $200 a year.

The Board of County Commissioners had intended to talk about public safety funding today, but withdrew the topic from their agenda with no explanation late yesterday afternoon.

9 Statewide Measures Make the Ballot

The questions may be lingering about whether or not voters will be asked to decide on public safety funding in Lane County, but statewide, they’ll be asked to say yes or no to nine different measures.  Secretary of State Kate Brown assigned ballot measure numbers.  Measures 77 and 78 are legislative referrals from the 76th Assembly.  They deal with disaster declarations and spending authority; as well as changes language in the state constitution about the separation of powers.  79-through-84 are initiatives submitted by voters and cover a variety of topics including the legalization of marijuana and private casinos to banning real estate transfer taxes; non-tribal gillnetting and estate taxes.  Measure 85, also a voter initiative, would eliminate the corporate income tax “kicker” and instead direct excess tax collections into education.

Gas Prices Dip This Week

After jumping 20-cents a gallon the week before, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Florence fell by three cents this week.  The local average is $3.55; 9-cents less than the Oregon statewide average and a nickel higher than the national average as measured by Triple-A.  Industry experts say crude oil prices are up about five-percent in the past 30 days.

Memorial Service for Former Principal

August 11th is the tentative date, but the time and location of a memorial service have not yet been announced for a long time educator and administrator at Siuslaw High School.  Richard Whitmore passed away Monday at the age of 76.

He began a 32 year career in education in Florence in 1961.  Seven years later he was vice-principal; then in 1974 Whitmore became principal at Siuslaw.  He retired in 1993 and remained active in the community.  Whitmore not only connected with students while they were in the classroom… he also made it a point to attend as many class reunions as he could.