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MailTribune.com
  • Extension Service district: Yes

    Measure 15-121 would cost little but return many times the value of the levy
  • Jackson County voters are being asked to tax themselves no more than 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to continue funding the Jackson County Extension Service. While we would prefer to see the county continue the $200,000 a year it now pays toward that service, the request is a bargain and well worth the investment.
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  • Jackson County voters are being asked to tax themselves no more than 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to continue funding the Jackson County Extension Service. While we would prefer to see the county continue the $200,000 a year it now pays toward that service, the request is a bargain and well worth the investment.
    The Jackson County Budget Committee last year voted to end county support for the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, along with funding for libraries and other cuts to keep the county budget in balance and stave off worse cuts down the road as a result of dwindling federal timber payments that once sustained county government.
    The committee agreed to continue the subsidy through June of this year to allow Extension Service supporters to find another source of funds. The proposed levy is that other source.
    The Extension Service, operated through Oregon State University, has long provided valuable assistance to the county's agriculture industry, including horticulturists who advise pear and wine grape growers, among others. Extension also operates 4-H programs for children throughout the county, the Master Gardeners program to help home gardeners, and other educational and research support.
    Much of the funding for these programs comes from state and federal sources, but state law requires a local contribution. That's where the bargain comes in.
    Every dollar the county contributes leverages $8.48 in contracts, fees, grants and state and federal funding.
    Measure 15-121 on the May 20 ballot would create the "Jackson County 4-H, Master Gardener and Agricultural Extension Service District," encompassing the entire county. Property owners in the county would pay up to 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to the district. The maximum 5-cent rate could never be increased, and could be used only for the Extension Service. County government would have no say over the district or its budget.
    The owner of the average home in Jackson County, with an assessed value of $154,210, would pay a maximum of $7.71 per year — and the amount could be less.
    This is a good deal not only because the amount is modest, but because of the value the Extension Service contributes to the local agricultural economy and the education of its residents, from children to seniors.
    Voting no would mean turning down the state and federal funds that make all those programs possible. We recommend a yes vote on Measure 15-121.
    The name of Tonia Moro, write-in candidate for the Democratic nomination for Jackson County commissioner , Position 1, was misspelled in Thursday's editorial.
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