Lane County is already facing a deficit in funding that has affected the number of cells in the jail and the officers for patrol services. The projected amount in the 2014-15 fiscal year will see an additional 7.9 million dollars in cuts. The current fiscal year shows a two million dollar cut in funding, beginning in July of this year.
The Sheriff’s Office states if revenue sources can’t be found by July, the cut of two million dollars will leave them with no choice but to reduce patrol deputies from 15 to 12. The current number of beds available in the Lane County Jail would be reduced from 135 to 83.
If the funding issue is not better by the 2014 fiscal year, the beds in the jail will be reduced again, leaving only 26 beds available. Patrol services would be eliminated. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office would have to reduce the number of detectives to one.
The deficit is due to the loss of several sources of income. The federal funding cuts and the county in general is running at a deficit. Grants are expiring for the office operations and monies received from the U.S. Marshals service are running dry.
With the cuts, comes the question of what to do with those waiting trial for homicide? In 2014, if left with only 26 beds available in the jail, there won’t be enough space to place the typical 30 homicide offenders waiting on their trial.
According to the officers, this reduction in services leaves rapists, kidnappers and people committing sodomy without a place to go for the safety of the community.
The office is working toward a change before the projected cuts become a reality.
A public safety survey, due to come out in January 2013, is expected to give better insight into the future of the jail and services. A short-term five-year property tax levy may be the solution to the shortage of funds. The levy may appear on the May or November ballot if other income sources are not available.