Community members will have the opportunity to share their opinions with city councilors about a proposed ordinance for a payroll tax to fund community safety services on Tuesday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Ave.). At their Wednesday, May 8 work session councilors voted in favor of sending a proposed ordinance to public hearing.
Councilors were provided three versions of a possible payroll tax and moved forward with an option that included a rate of .0040 for employees and a rate of .0020 for employers located within the City of Eugene. This option also capped the rate for minimum wage earners at .0020. (See examples of these rates below.)
“Our community safety system is stressed,” said City Manager Jon Ruiz. “Adding a separate, dedicated revenue source will enable us to respond to more calls in less time, and have the capacity to deter crime, hold chronic offenders accountable and help those who are willing to find a better path.”
“We absolutely need to do something about the state of our public safety,” said Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner. “If there’s a life safety issue we’re there, but we are underperforming when it comes to responding to the vast number of calls affecting this community’s livability. We need to act now to build the capacity to meet needs better.”
The proposed payroll tax would provide an additional $23.6 million to the City’s community safety services, significantly bolstering the City’s ability to respond to, prevent, and resolve all types of safety concerns. Funding would be used for critical services including police, fire and emergency medical services, municipal court, homeless services, and prevention services.
The proposed ordinance includes several accountability measures including:
- Keeping the revenue in a separate fund that is dedicated only for community safety services
- Establishment of a citizen review panel that would annually review and report on the City’s use of community safety payroll tax proceeds
- Independent audit of the funds every year
Proposed Monthly Cost to Employees at Various Hourly Wages
Proposed Monthly Cost to Minimum Wage Employees
Proposed Monthly Cost to Employer with Annual Gross Payroll of $500,000
- Approximately 65% of the funding will go toward police services including: 40 patrol officers, 5 detectives, 4 sergeants, 10 community service officers, 9.5 staff for 911, animal welfare and traffic safety officers, and evidence control and forensic analysts.
- Approximately 10% will go to fire and emergency medical services including the creation of a 911 triage program and field triage/community response unit.
- Approximately 15% will go to Municipal Court services including opening third courtroom with staffing, expanding community court and mental health court programs and adding 10 jail beds and increased jail services.
- Approximately 10% will go toward prevention and homelessness services including adding emergency shelters, a day center and funding after school programs at Title 1 schools.
Learn more Community Safety System and how funds would be used.