G.P. Councilors look further at utility fee for jail beds
The Grants Pass City Council during their weekly meeting today decided to look further at the possibility of using a utility fee to pay for city rented jail beds.
City Manager Aaron Cubic explained to council that although the criminal justice levy failed during this month’s election, in the previous two elections, city support of criminal justice services increased with city precincts voting 51.9 percent yes in the May 2012 election and 59.6 percent in the May 2013 election. The results for the city precincts in the latest election will be available June 6.
The current contract for 30 city rented jail beds ends at the end of June and Cubic said that with a transportation utility fee of approximately $3.42 per utility bill would continue to pay for the beds.
Councilors were all supportive of the idea and several wanted to look at the possibility of the addition of juvenile justice services, promoting morale through the police force with the secured beds and the possibility of cutting projects to reduce the utility fee. Several councilors also suggested a short term solution of initiating the fee for the next few months and then put the issue to a special election in September to see how the public feels about the topic.
Cubic said staff can draft a plan and the criminal justice utility fee could be put in front of the council as early as their June 18 meeting.