LAKESIDE — During Coos County's 2019 special election, on Nov. 5, Lakeside residents voted against a proposed property tax increase that would have funded a law enforcement presence in the community.
The ballot measure asked for the approval of a single item tax levy of $1.25 per $1,000 assessed property value for five years. The funds collected from the tax would have gone toward contracting with the Coos County Sheriff's Department to provide full-time law enforcement within Lakeside. During the election, the measure was voted down with 56.82% of votes saying no. It was noted that about half of Lakeside's registered voters responded in the special election, which was more than the rest of the county.
The City c=Council discussed the results of the election during its November meeting and noted that it probably would have been the same result if they had waited until the 2020 election. They do not want to abandon the idea of bringing law enforcement to Lakeside, though, and agreed to consider alternatives.
"Change will come to Lakeside when the minds and hearts of our citizens change," said City Manager Andrew Carlstrom. "And I think contemplation of their duty and obligations to future generations who will someday live in Lakeside … I think we need to think long term and just hang in there, make the right decisions."
The council also discussed other ways of raising the money for law enforcement. Councilor Shauleen Higgins suggested the city team up with nearby communities to raise the money, and the police would service all the communities involved. The biggest issue with the idea was putting it together within existing laws, or changing the state laws to allow creating a special district.
"If we have to change a law, we have to push for it," said Higgins. "Then that is one of the steps we have to do to get it."
It was also suggested for the city to get a police vehicle with grants, then pursue funding to hire an officer or contract with another entity. Hiring a security company, or having a constable instead of a full police force, was also raised as a suggestion.