EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- While the city of Eugene's Budget Committee is trying to figure out how to trim more than 4-million dollars from its general fund by June 2012 for the upcoming fiscal year 2013 budget, one area in the public safety realm could actually see a funding boost.
As part of the Eugene City Manager's budget strategy that Budget Committee members are now evaluating, city management is recommending a spending $350,000 on jail beds in the Lane County Jail.
The proposed amount of $350,000 is $50,000 more than the current fiscal year 2012.
Through the proposal, the funding increase would allow EPD to continue to lodge up to 25 municipal offenders through the end of fiscal year 2013, or July 1st, 2013.
Municipal offenses include things like trespassing, DUII, and other crimes.
Without the funding increase, the amount of jail beds Eugene Police would have access to would drop from 25 to 15 beds.
Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns says hanging on to 25 jail beds is important to keep serial offenders off the street. Chief Kerns says a significant portion of crime in Eugene is committed by the same individuals who are arrested but released shortly after.
“I don't think anyone in the criminal justice system is anymore frustrated than a judge who, when sentencing somebody, learns that there isn't room for them to serve a sentence, that would interrupt the life of crime for someone so having enough jail beds is a very important component of creating some safety,” says Chief Kerns.
The Eugene City Manager's office's recommendation still has to make it through the city's Budget Committee, then Eugene City Council.
Eugene's Budget Committee met once again on March 6th, 2012. The committee will reconvene on March 7th, 2012, in the council chambers at Eugene City Hall.