Lane County Budget Committee Weighs Options

May 18, 2012

By Jennifer Richardson

LANE COUNTY, Ore. — Protect the public. That’s the message the Lane County Budget Committee heard loud and clear as it weighed budget options.

The Lane County Jail commander says criminals would be roaming the streets if the county cut 131 jail beds.

Now it seems 96 of those could be saved if the committee moves $1.6 million.

“The proposals that are up there, all of them look like they have some benefit to public safety,” said Sheriff Tom Turner.

The sheriff’s office is set to lose $7 million.

The committee is looking at 20 different proposals.

The jail bed proposal looks to take money from the car rental tax.

Most of the proposals include one-time funds, so that means the county will be in the same boat next year.

The committee says it has to be very careful with where it moves money from.

“That we don’t take or move something that was intended for one purpose and illegally or stupidly put it where it shouldn’t go,” said budget committee member Denis Hijmans.

Another proposal would free up funds to keep the medical examiner, but that is just one proposal.

The committee says it didn’t vote on anything yet. It plans to do so next Tuesday.

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