JaCo Farm Bureau hears Assessor

Josh Gibson, newly elected Jackson County Assessor was the guest speaker at the Jackson County Farm Bureau December meeting held at the Black Bear Restaurant in Medford on Dec. 18.  Gibson has been acting Assessor for some time, and was elected during the last round of elections, but will not officially take office until he is sworn in January 2012.

Gibson fielded a number of questions from members present during the meeting and attempted to explain how the assessment process works.  When the economy is stable, assessments raise a certain amount each year, when the economy is bad, assessments generally lose ground.  With the current economy, housing prices have dropped, sometimes dramatically, and assessments have also been dropping.  In what amounts to a complicated situation, when the assessed valuation and true market values collide on the charts, sometimes taxes can raise faster than what would be considered normal.  Gibson ended by fielding several questions from the audience.

Member Bill Ryan reported that the GMO-Free Jackson County group now has the necessary signatures to turn in to the county clerk to place the issue on the ballot.  Jackson County commissioners have said they will not hold a special election on the initiative because the cost would range from somewhere above $135,000 to as much as $175,000.  Commissioner elect, Doug Breidenthal told attendees that the county is facing a shortfall of some $6.5 million and it is not likely that they wish to add to the deficit for a special election.  Farm Bureau President Ron Bjork was told the commissioners would be willing to place the issue on the ballot if the GMO-free group were willing to put up the money needed for the election.

Bjork gave a short report on the Oregon Farm Bureau convention in Salem that was attended by several delegates from Jackson County.  One of the main speakers was Kevin Richards of the American Farm Bureau Federation who addressed the issue of GMO products.  A video of the event is available to Farm Bureau members from Bjork.

The January meeting is scheduled for January 15 at the Black Bear Restaurant in Medford beginning at 6 p. m.

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