From the mayor’s desk: by Meadow Martell

Meadow Martell

The second annual Harvest Fair Saturday was a blast. If you missed it, put it on your calendar for next year.
Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and our fundamental right and responsibility. Tuesday, Nov. 8 is Election Day. There are state, county and city issues in this election that will affect you. Josephine County ballots are mailed out Oct. 19. I strongly encourage you to vote and let your voice be heard.
There are a few important items in the Voters’ Pamphlet I would like to highlight. The first is Measure 17-108, amendments to the Cave Junction City Charter. The last time the charter was revised was 1981. A committee of council and community members carefully reviewed the charter and did some updating and clarifying. It reads much better now and should serve the city well for another 41 years.
The second item of significant importance and more controversy is Measure 17-112 which will exclusively fund law enforcement. Josephine County which is 70% federal land, once was flush with federal timber dollars to pay for county services. There is very little money coming in now. Five years ago, Cave Junction had a very small police presence until a county levy, which is expiring, passed. Without new funding, we will be back to almost no sheriff coverage again. A proposed county wide 3% seasonal retail tax, April 15-October 15. This timing will take advantage of the tourist traffic which has never paid for any services. All the money would go to the county for law enforcement, none to the state. This could almost double the sheriffs’ personnel number. Merchants would collect the tax and retain 5% to offset administrative costs. And the percentage of tax cannot be changed without voter approval.
With no extra funding, the sheriff’s office will eventually go down from the current 24 deputies to 6, with no 24-hour service. Without law enforcement, all the positive changes Cave Junction and our downtown have made in the last five years will disappear. It will again be the wild west. I personally cannot live like that again. Josephine County has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state and the reasonably small amount of money I would additionally have to contribute is worth feeling safe and protected in my community.
Lastly, Cave Junction has three certified candidates running, two council members and the mayor. Although unopposed, you can show your support by voting yes. And thank you.
My next letter will be in the Illinois Valley News Nov. 16 after I return from my last big adventure of the year.