Majority of surveyed voters do not support proposed surcharge

The results are clear: A majority of Jackson County voters would not support a surcharge to make up for 2013-14 budget shortfalls.

Based on a phone survey of likely voters, 57 percent said they oppose the surcharge, with 31 percent in favor and 11 percent undecided. The No. 1 reason voters were against the surcharge was because it was too expensive and they could not afford it, a news release from the county said today.

"The survey results were the same across the board regardless of political affiliation, age, gender and place of residence," the release said.

Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick proposed the surcharge in May to avoid cutting general fund support to sheriff's patrols, veteran's services, health and human services, the Oregon State University Extension Service and county libraries. The surcharge would cost residents $7 per household per month for the first five years. Payments were designed to be assessed quarterly. All payments received would go to support the Jackson County Jail, thereby freeing up general fund support that could be spread to other programs and services.

Commissioners Doug Breidenthal and John Rachor both have said they would not support putting the surcharge on the ballot if it was clear voters wouldn't approve it. The Board of Commissioners will discuss the survey results at its July 10 meeting, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse Auditorium, 10 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

— Ryan Pfeil

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