EUGENE, Ore. — More problems for the Lane County Sheriff’s Office as it announced it will cut 35 more jail beds. So with all the problems, why was there no measure brought to voters to help fund the jail?
The sheriff’s office says the track record for voters passing issues in Lane County hasn’t been good. Fourteen failed. But with morale low at the jail, the sheriff says a long-term revenue stream needs to be found.
Just when the sheriff’s office thought 152 beds was the lowest it could go, the U.S. Marshals stopped renting as many beds, resulting in a loss of revenue for the jail.
“This little fluctuation in revenue causes us what we are projecting as a $750,000 deficit,” said Sheriff Tom Turner.
And that means the beds are cut to 135.
“That will put us in an absolute horrific category,” Turner said.
Some are wondering why next Tuesday’s ballot didn’t have a measure asking voters to help fund public safety.
“Things are so bad right now. I think they decided they would leave the voters alone, that the tax payers wouldn’t go for anything right now,” said Eugene resident Hugh Massengill.
“It hasn’t been successful, so there is tremendous hesitation,” Turner said.
But the time of hesitation may be over.
“There isn’t any money to use and we need to go forward, and to do that we are going to need to do revenue stream ultimately,” Turner said.
Two options that could be presented–a public safety district tax or a local option levy.
“I think sooner or later you are either going to have to put up with higher crime rates or they are going to have to put up with paying more for public safety,” Massengill said.
“We are trying to get as much information together. We are trying to get work groups together,” Turner said.
So will we see something on the next ballot?
“I certainly hope so,” Turner said.
Six deputy positions will also be cut. Three were already leaving. The other three found out this week they were being laid off.