The Curry political action committee supporting the May 21 public safety property tax levy has $7,870 in contributions as of April 26 — including $4,825 from the Smith River Rancheria, $2,500 from Rogue Federal Members Financial Services and $1,000 from C&K Market.
“Our ancestral people go all the way to Pistol River,” said Russ Crabtree, tribal administrator for the rancheria. “We have a substantial population base of tribal members who live in Curry County, and we want the county to be solvent and maintain local control.”
Other cash donations totalled $1,190, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Expenditures far exceed that, the website noted, but that is fairly typical as an election gears up. Most expenses were for radio and newspaper advertising, signs and buttons.
“Things are going well,” said Bob Horel, treasurer of Curry PAC. “People are working hard; we’re getting our point out. It’ll all come down to turnout. It’s hard to motivate people to vote because it’s an off-year election.”
The ballot measure asks voters to increase property taxes by $1.97 for those living in unincorporated Curry County and $1.84 for those living in its three cities. The five-year measure would raise about $4.5 million to fund public safety.
Without it, the county faces an array of possible repercussions, ranging from eliminating entire departments to having the state take over its resources and do it for them.
County commissioners and various department heads — Juvenile Director Ken Dukek, Sheriff John Bishop and DA Everett Dial among them — believe any legislative action by the state will likely come at the last minute.
Like county commissioners David Itzen and David Brock Smith, Horel feels voters this time around realize the federal government isn’t going to bail Curry County out of its fiscal situation and will approve the levy.
“It’s close, but we have a chance if we get our people out,” Horel said. “We’ll be fine. Things are going well.”