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Illegal Grows, JoCo Funding, etc
An article in the 6/17/22 of the Daily Courier re: the reduction in local bulk water sales is great news for us law abiding citizens. Last year, as the sale of our water to illegal cannabis grows was exploding, several of us got very vocal regarding how to control bulk water sales to illegal grow operations. As a result, in Sept 2021, a very common sense presentation was made to the CJ City Council, which included the Sheriff’s Dept, the OWRD, and other interested parties, on ways for our local municipalities to track bulk water sales, to identify the illegal sales, without impacting legitimate sales. While the city of CJ wasn’t particularly interested, we thank our legislators for listening, and responding with HB 4061 which requires that bulk water sales be tracked when sold & received. While this will help a great deal, it is only one tool for combating the illegal grows problem. Since another common sense approach, the code enforcement measure was defeated by ballot, then there are only a couple of options left. One would be for the OR Water Resources Dept (OWRD) to take action against blatant water theft. However, it appears that they are unable or unwilling to do anything, despite their massive budget. Which leaves our primary “force” – the Sheriff’s Dept, which has done a great job in coordination w/ other agencies, but once again, has major budget problems. So, how much illegal activity are we willing to deal with year after year after year ? I’m sure that the answer is different for everyone, but for this place to be livable, don’t we need a stable law enforcement force (ie, deputies, DA’s, prosecutors, jail staff),? It’s not just the grows, but car theft & burning, illegal dumping, drug dealers, squatter properties and on & on. To fund law enforcement, why is the idea of a voter controlled sales tax so unpopular, since it is the fairest and least impactful way to solve these year after year money woes ? No one wants a repeat of the runaway CA sales tax here, so ours would be voter controlled: ~3% on retail sales. Any increase would require voter approval. This is hardly a burden and everyone contributes. So, as the Sheriff’s dept is forced to lay off personnel, and no qualified replacements will come here due to the uncertainty of their jobs, isn’t it time to put a more permanent funding system in place ? The idea of selling county properties and other ideas regarding trying to increase the efficiency of our hard working personnel is nonsense since the $ 5 million dollar gap, year after year, cannot be filled via a “yard sale”. No one likes taxes, but I wish that someone would offer a better long term solution to solving this financial mess.
Brad Vincent