Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, February 12 2014 at 3:50 PM, Updated: Wed, February 12 2014 at 8:48 PM
Klamath Falls, Ore. -- The Klamath County Commissioners said this morning that they won't put a jail funding issue on the May ballot...even though the Sheriff says proposed cuts could shut down the jail.
Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah says he's facing a budget crisis...
"If we don't fund the sheriff's office to a zero growth budget, and we take the hit of two million dollars, that jail across the way closes, all the good we've done just goes right down the drain."
Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum disagrees...
"And yet the threat is always, 'we're going to close the jail'. 75 percent of our county's general fund today goes to supporting public safety."
An effort to fund the jail through a 144 dollar yearly fee to all home and business owners has been withdrawn.
Klamath County resident Todd Kepple is backing a new effort for a 95 dollar fee...
"So, I'm here to encourage the board to place a measure on the ballot."
But the board rejected that request.
Commissioner Jim Bellet: "I think if I made a motion to put this on the ballot, it's going to, I don't think I'm going to get a 'second'."
The Sheriff is expected to present a draft budget to the county by Friday.
Klamath County budget hearings will get underway in mid-April.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.