JOHN DAY – The City of John Day recently elected to suspend city police coverage, effective October 31st, citing insufficient funding from a tax base too small. The coverage will then fall under the responsibility of the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. In Grant County Court earlier this week, the matter was discussed between several department heads.
John Day City Manager Nick Green verbally made a proposal that the city would hand over 100% of their revenues from property taxes—to the tune of around $300,000 to be used for public safety—in exchange for the same dollar amount from the county’s Road Department fund to go toward infrastructure improvement in John Day.
City Manager Green stated, “We cannot, in good conscience, give up all of our property taxes for public safety without an equivalent return in road funds that allows us to address the core problem. So, that’s our offer–$300,000 of our money for $300,000 of yours. This offer has an expiration date. In one week, we’re going to transfer our General Fund to our Road Fund and we’re going to use it to build roads.”
Grant County Commissioner Sam Palmer had a question for Green.
Commissioner Palmer: “So, with this dollar-for-dollar match, what’s your expectations for policing within the city limits of John Day for this offer?”
City Manager Green: “I’m not interested in putting restrictions on how you spend that money, it should go toward general public safety. I trust you and the Sheriff to make the right decisions with how you spend that funding, just like we’re going to make the right decisions with how we spend yours.”
Later in the meeting, Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley said the $300,00 from the city would put less of a burden on the county in terms of policing, but likely wouldn’t be enough to cover all added costs. The Sheriff said he’d like to see more in writing that included any potential equipment that could be carried over to the city.
Before exiting the courtroom, City Manager Green agreed to draft up a written copy of his proposal for review by the county’s legal counsel.