Columbia County Jail Levy: Continuing to Keep Our Community Safe

Columbia County voters are set to make a crucial decision in the upcoming May election: the continuation of a Columbia County Jail Levy. This ballot measure plays a pivotal role in maintaining the safety and security of our community. The existing jail levy, set to expire this year, has been a cornerstone of our safety initiatives. The jail relies on the community's support to maintain effective operations. Preserving the Jail Levy would raise property owners' taxes by $0.29, from $0.58 to $0.87 per $1,000 of assessed property value, allowing the county to continue operating the jail in the manner that residents have come to expect.

This is not the first time that voters have faced this decision. Initially approved in 2014 and renewed in 2017 and 2020, the jail levy reflects the community's dedication to fostering a safe environment. Operational costs for the jail have significantly increased, more than doubling in the last four years. Unforeseen challenges during the pandemic, such as reduced bed rentals by the U.S. Marshals Service and increased food and medical expenses, have added to these financial pressures. Despite these challenges, a reactive maintenance strategy (addressing equipment issues as they arise) and prudent fiscal practices have postponed this increase for as long as possible.

"We appreciate the trust voters have shown in the Sheriff’s Office through their support of jail operations levies since 2014. The Command Staff team at CCSO remains dedicated to conserving funds," said Brian Pixley, Columbia County Sheriff. "However, the jail has experienced continually rising costs in recent years, making an increase in the levy necessary.”

By approving the expanded levy, voters will be making an investment in our community's collective safety and security. It ensures that our families, friends, and neighbors will continue to feel protected in their neighborhoods.

"We cannot compromise on public safety," emphasizes Margaret Magruder, Columbia County Commissioner. " The levy increase is not about adding extras; it's about maintaining the level of operation that our residents have come to expect from the jail and continuing to provide the necessary services that keep our community safe."

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