Eugene (KMTR) - How much more can the Lane County Sheriff cut from his budget, before things just get downright dangerous?
No matter what the answer, Sheriff Tom Turner is meeting with county commissioners Wednesday to come up with a plan to soften the financial blow this year and for the next fiscal year.
Lane County is facing a $14 million budget shortfall and the sheriff is hoping to hold onto some money this budget period, to help ease the cuts he may have to make during the next budget cycle.
- The Sheriff's Office may have to cut 70 to 80 full time positions.
- Patrols may have to be scaled back to 16 hours a day; meaning 8 hours with no deputies patrolling county roads or highways.
- The jail may have to close 131 jail beds in addition to the beds already vacant.
- Supervision for misdemeanor offenders might end, including supervision for domestic violence offenders.
Sheriff Turner says the cuts will be deep and are potentially disastrous.
Sheriff's deputies are the primary law enforcement responders for more than 100,000 people in Lane County. Turner says he is trying to come up with a way to minimize the risk to lane county's rural residents.
“We know it’s coming. So again, just like this year, there's no need to wait, we'll move forward. And everybody needs to have a real accurate picture of what that is,” Turner said. “This is just the first step of what I think is going to be a very difficult financial year. This is probably the worst in the last 30 years.”
Sheriff Turner says he hopes commissioners will allow him to spread out funds over the next couple of budget cycles to minimize the damage.