Budget Adds Back to Public Safety

LANE COUNTY, Ore. — Once again, Lane County managed to avoid some of the deep and disputed proposed budget cuts it announced last month.

The Lane County Budget Committee was able to pull one more rabbit out of its hat.

But Commissioner Jay Bozievich says the county’s really only managed to pull rabbits out of other people’s pockets.

Some of the cuts to public safety — jail beds, deputies and prosecutors — were averted because the committee wants to move $3.5 million from other sources, like the county road fund.

That fund alone would provide $1.9 million to save patrols.

Sheriff Tom Turner says he is grateful but not thrilled.

“I was expecting a very bleak outcome, and actually, that’s what we got was a very bleak outcome. It was better than I expected,” Turner said.

There will now be 20 deputies instead of six.

Turner says response times will lag.

The reallocation would add back 35 jail beds, only cutting 96.

The sheriff says that could help keep violent offenders locked up.

Turner says we should have 1,000 beds instead of just 155.

Patrol and corrections will still lose close to 50 positions as of June 30.

The budget will be discussed once more and is expected to be adopted by commissioners on June 20.

Turner doesn’t expect any drastic changes before it is adopted.

County workers say this is the last trick they can pull. Next year, there is no option for shifting money.

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