AIR FORCE ACADEMY
Brian served two years’ active duty while attending the U.S. Air Force Academy. U.S. Code Title 38 states that students who attended a U.S. military academy are considered veterans, so long as they were released under a condition other than dishonorable. Brian received an honorable discharge and has never claimed to have graduated from the academy or to be a combat veteran. Brian honors all veterans and thanks them for their service.
Brian’s opponent has accused him of “increasing taxes.” We believe context is important:
Transient Lodging Tax: When Brian joined the city council in January 2021, the city’s public safety budget was facing a $2 million shortfall — expenses were outpacing revenues. In order to bridge the gap, the council both “tightened its belt” and sought new revenues by increasing the transient lodging tax from 9% to 12%. Brian supported increasing the lodging tax, a move that brought in an additional $228,363 for public safety in FY22-23.
Construction Excise Tax: In December 2021, Brian voted to establish a construction excise tax (CET) that levies 0.5% on the building permit value of residential construction valued at $50,000 and above and 1% on commercial/industrial permits for permits valued at $50,000 and above. CET revenues, estimated to raise about $450,000 to $500,000 per year, are designated exclusively for affordable housing programs and downpayment assistance.
Communities across the state use a CET to raise funds for affordable housing programs: Bend, Medford, and Eugene are examples of other Oregon cities using this tool. Implementing a CET was also recommended by the city’s Housing Advisory Committee.
FUNDING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT
Brian supports local law enforcement. Faced with a $2 million shortfall in the city’s police budget in early 2021, Brian has real experience “tightening the belt.” He’s proud to have helped resolve the city’s public safety funding gap without laying off a single employee. Brian continues to look for ways to streamline city departments to maintain the health of the city’s general fund, an important funding source for public safety.
Brian understands that the Sheriff’s Office needs to identify stable, long-term funding sources. The sales tax proposed on the November ballot is flawed. We don’t know how much it will bring in and the revenues will fluctuate, sometimes significantly, from year to year. This makes it difficult for the Sheriff to do long-term planning and retain experienced officers.
Brian continues to search for creative funding solutions to help pay for law enforcement — ideas such as an absentee owner fee and a transient lodging tax can help reduce the cost burden for property owners — but ultimately, the answer may lie in a Law Enforcement Taxing District. Josephine County has the lowest property tax rate in the state, approximately 1/3 the state average. If we as residents want the service that the Sheriff’s office provides, we’re going to have to pay for it, plain and simple.
COUNCIL & SCHOOL BOARD
Brian’s experience as an elected official will give him a leg up as a county commissioner. He currently sits on the Grants Pass City Council and the District 7 School Board. If elected to the Board of Commissioners, Brian plans to step down from his city council seat and won’t seek reelection when his school board term ends in June. He also plans to put his work as a lighting consultant on hold to focus full-time on county business and give Josephine County citizens the representation they deserve.