Results of a second survey about the elements of the Justice System Improvement Program were presented to the Benton County Board of Commissioners at their October 18, 2022 board meeting. The survey was conducted by Oregon-based DHM Research from September 7-14. It was commissioned by the County as a follow up to the May 2022 survey and designed to gather information about a potential Benton County Justice System Improvement Bond on the May 2023 ballot and to identify voter priorities for key potential elements of bond. 400 respondents were interviewed, and the survey has a margin of error of ±4.9%.
By a margin of 57-36, voters surveyed supported a hypothetical $95 million bond measure that would fund investments in community safety, mental health, and homeless services facilities. Voters were far less likely to support a different hypothetical measure, at the same cost, that would not include funding for homeless services facilities (49 support – 43 oppose).
The survey also asked about several facilities under consideration for a May 2023 bond: the Mental Health Crisis Center, Corrections Facility with expanded mental health services, Sheriff Offices with co-located Emergency Operations Center, and a Homeless Resources Center. Overall, each of these proposed investments received broad support across the County as a medium to very high priority. The two facilities with the strongest support were the Crisis Center and Homeless Resources Center, with 61 and 58% of voters, respectively, viewing those investments as “high” or “very high” priorities.
“Addressing homelessness and mental health are top priorities for Benton County voters, and it is a top priority for the County,” said Commissioner Xan Augerot. “We have an opportunity to leverage significant state and federal funding to meet these challenges head-on, and it is heartening to see that voters appear willing to partner with us.”
In December, the Benton County Board of Commissioners will begin discussions about finalizing a bond measure of up to $100 million to be placed on the May 2023 ballot. Members of the public can learn more or sign up to receive updates and announcements related to the Justice System Improvement Program on the web at www.bentoncountyjustice.org.