County Distributes Public Safety Funds

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EUGENE, Ore. — How and where some new public safety funds will be doled out is stirring up some controversy in Lane County.

It was one of the items on Tuesday morning’s board of commissioners meeting.

The county’s currently in the process of submitting its biennial community corrections plan to the state. But some new legislation that’s providing the county more money has actually managed to throw a slight kink in the process.

The problems in the public safety system in Lane County aren’t new.

“Each week PNP supervisors are tasked with choosing five of the most prolific or heinous to remain in the hard beds while having to watch as many more are pushed into program, such as work crew, with does not align with evidence based practices or simply released with no consequences at all,” said Ken Border, Parole and Probation Officer.

While the creation of a public safety system budget isn’t new either, this year things are a bit different. The state was trying to save $600 million worth of expenses in new prisons over the next decade.

“So what they decided was they wanted to reinvest those dollars locally with the caveat that we think the outcome might be counties don’t send so many people to state prisons,” said Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager.

That change means big change–about an extra $4 million for the county to work with now. A committee was tasked with figuring out how to split up the new funding. But not everyone was happy with how it all went down.

“The CCA money is community corrections allocations, and it should be supervised by the community corrections in this county, which is parole and probation,” said Rick Pokorny, Parole and Probation Officer.

“Folks from parole and probation felt they didn’t have an adequate seat at the table, so we were trying to get at that issue, as well as how to fix that moving forward,” Cuyler said.

Ultimately, the board decided the best course of action would be to split the biennial budget up, approving one year to allow them time to address both those issues in the next.

County officials believe splitting the budget up this time around will allow them to address the concerns brought up during public comment as well as allow them to make sure they’re fulfilling the state requirements to keep the money coming. They hope to meet again on the issue sometime after Dec. 5.

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