LANE COUNTY, Ore. (KMTR) – The Lane County sheriff's Office gets a temporary reprieve from cutting its patrol services in half, one day away from major staffing cuts.
"(It gives us) a little bit of breathing room, but it's no change ultimately in the services,” says Sheriff Tom Turner of the Lane County Sheriff's Office.
A change in the budgeting process is keeping deputies on the road for a few extra months.
The Sheriff's Office was supposed to cut down to just ten patrol deputies by Saturday, April 7, 2012. However, Sheriff Tom Turner says all 22 patrol deputies will now be able to stay on at least through May 26th.
The money isn't an additional funding boost, but rather a full release of money allocated to the Sheriff's Office through a particular fund.
Turner says the county administrator's office is allowing full release of some road funds upfront, instead of the normal reimbursing of the Sheriff's Office for the number of hours each deputy patrols.
The move gives the Sheriff's Office some breathing room to prepare for major cuts, but it doesn't change the outcome of the situation it is facing. Come June 29, 2012, the Sheriff's Office will have to cut 22 patrol deputies to six total.
“It gives us a little bit of room to where we get to the budget committee and we're going to have robust discussions about how perhaps the sheriff's office can be funded into the next fiscal year and maybe keep a better presence in the county as opposed to this extraordinary limited capacity that we're going to get to,” says Sheriff Turner.
In all, Lane County is facing between 14 to 16 million dollars' worth of budget cuts this year. The Sheriff's Office has to take on about half of that - seven million dollars.
The big gap is caused by the county not getting any Federal timber payments for the 2013 fiscal year. At this point, a best case scenario right now for Lane County would earn it an additional one-time five million dollar payment for the next fiscal year. The amendment that would provide for this one-year extension of the program has stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lane County's draft budget will be made public on April 24, 2012.