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Ballots due Tuesday in three city elections

Local report

Voters in Phoenix, Gold Hill and Rogue River have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to turn in their ballots on local measures affecting their cities.

In Phoenix, the city is asking for approval of city charter amendments that among other things would change the oath of office to no longer include oaths to uphold state and federal law. The city's attorney said that is inherent in the oath because city laws are based on state and federal laws. He said removing the oath requirements would allow councilors to use their best judgment when state and federal laws are in apparent conflict.

The charter changes would also allow the mayor to vote if needed to provide a quorum of council members. And, city officials say, the changes would eliminate some inconsistencies in city processes that cropped up during the proposed licensing of a medical marijuana dispensary.

Gold Hill voters are being asked to approve a five-year levy to help cover the cost of a full-time police officer. The levy is estimated to raise $162,000 to $182,000 annually. The city allocated funds in the budget to pay for the position, which would be provided through the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, but officials say additional funding will be needed to maintain the position.

Property owners will be asked to pay $2.64 per $1,000 in assessed property value. The owner of a property assessed at $150,000 would pay $396 annually. Gold Hill disbanded its own police force a decade ago.

In Rogue River, voters will decide whether to continue a property tax levy that funds the Rogue River Fire District. At 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, the owner of a $150,000 property would pay $90 annually. The district is the only provider of fire and ambulance services in the city.

The Rogue River levy comes up for renewal every five years, but the tax rate has not been increased in 15 years. It would not increase if the levy is approved this year.

The vote in all three cities is a vote-by-mail election, but it is now too late to send ballots in by mail. Ballots may be dropped off at the Jackson County Elections Office, 1101 W. Main St., where there is a curbside ballot drop box, or at the Rogue River library, 412 E. Main St., where there is a walk-up ballot drop box.