JoCo Road Service District formed

At their Sept. 13 weekly business session held at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass, the Board of County Commissioners voted to form the Josephine County Road Service District. To recap, this district will not change any JoCo Public Works policies or procedures; it was merely established in the hope that the county will receive more federal funds.
Public Works Director Rob Brandes has explained that currently, the county receives $600K in SRS federal dollars and is slated to get $1.9 million from PILT, but the federal government deducts $600K due to the prior SRS payment. Brandes’ theory is that if the SRS payment is sent to the road district instead of directly to the county’s general fund, it will no longer be taken out of the PILT payment, so JoCo will get the full $1.9 million.
However, Brandes has noted that it is not guaranteed his theory will pan out, and in the event it doesn’t, he would immediately request the commissioners dissolve the road district as it would serve no other purpose.
Klamath, Deschutes and potentially a few other Oregon counties will be attempting the same strategy.
The commissioners unanimously voted 3-0 to approve formation of the Josephine County Road Service District.
A service agreement between the county and city of Grants Pass was also approved by the board. JoCo Transit Supervisor Scott Chancey explained that the agreement was for $275,000 in transit services over the next two years. The city is using ODOT funds to purchase these services, which Chancey stated amounts to 1,400 of the 28,000 service hours operated by the transit department annually.
A similar agreement between Rogue Community College and the county was approved which allows students to have their bus fees waived. This agreement will net the county $30,000.
During matters from commissioners, the board expressed anger over the Grants Pass City Council’s unwillingness to endorse the county’s pending drug ordinance that would make it illegal to use hard drugs in public.
“I am appalled that the city of Grants Pass chose not to tag on to the ordinance against (Measure) 110 that the county is moving forward on,” Commissioner John West said.
Board Chair Herman Baertschiger added, “Where is the compassion? Where is the will to try to curb this? All this ordinance does is make it illegal to do drugs in public, but it will help. It’s a stepping stone. I am disgusted with that council; absolutely disgusted. I challenge those people on the city council to go have a conversation with a parent that has lost their child to overdose.”
The commissioners also issued a proclamation recognizing Constitution Week during the week of Sept. 17-23.
“Our U.S. Constitution means an opportunity for each, protection for all, justice for everyone and liberty, both civil and religious, for the strong and the weak, and for the rich and for the poor,” the proclamation read.
It also recounts some notable history of the Constitution and U.S. Constitution Week, including that the first draft of the Constitution was signed by 39 delegates Sept. 17, 1787; President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the first U.S. Constitution Week in 1955; and West Virginia Senator Robert E. Byrd propositioned the U.S. Congress to pass a law designating Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
The proclamation concludes with, “The Josephine County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim the week of September 17 – 23, 2023 as U.S. Constitution Week in Josephine County and encourages all citizens to relearn and appreciate this great document written by our Founding Fathers.”