New Proposed Budget Cuts for Josephine County

, Posted: Thu, May 9 2013 at 6:22 PM, Updated: Thu, May 9 2013 at 6:30 PM

Josephine County's budget problems are a fresh wound, but now deeper cuts are projected for the coming year.

NBC 5's Jennifer Elliott visited county officials to find out just how much they expect to lose.

Just how much more can Josephine County cut?
According to county officials, apparently another 10 percent. It's on the chopping block for the 2013-2014 year.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel.

"Overall the proposed budget last year was around 74 mil and it's dropping to 63 mil," says Chief Financial Officer Rosemary Padgett.

At tuesday's budget committee meeting, Padgett broke the news: without a new source of revenue the overall county budget would drop 10 percent.

"With no increased revenues we're actually utilizing reserves, once those reserves are gone -- they're gone," she says.

On top of that, Padgett says they'll have to cut nearly 16 full- time equivalent positions, including 4.85 from the Sheriff and District Attorney's Office, and the Juvenile Justice Department.

"This is in addition to the layoffs we did last year which was 125 F.T.E's county wide and 90 in the sheriff's office," says Padgett.

As it is, for anyone who's ever called the Josephine County Sheriff's office, you'll know reaching an actual person is no easy feat.

"There's only 3 deputies working and we just can't get to these calls," says Sheriff Gil Gilbertson who we spoke with about the projected cuts.
"I know if I don't get some additional funding this next year, I will have to lay some people off," he says.

If the cuts happen, he says he'll drop to one deputy for the entire county and could even... " I have to keep a minimum of 21 people, if I fall below that we'll have to close the jail," says Gilbertson.

However, there is the three-year proposed levy on the May 21st ballot. If passed ---property taxes would increase $1.48 per 1 thousand dollars assessed value and bring in 9.1 million dollars to the criminal justice and public safety programs a year.

"With the levy I would be able to put more people on the road and put more people in the jails," says Gilbertson.

So, since last years 12 million dollar budget shortfall, will residents now vote for a levy?

"We did vote yes for this because it will be at least some help for us," says resident Diane Thompson.

Resident Shari Kinney says, "I would."

Darren Stevens tells us, "I'm voting no... cause it seems we give them money and it doesn't do any good."

"We're asking the citizens to step up and pay for the services that  we think adds to the quality of life in Josephine County. It's hard because our citizens have never before had to do that," says Padgett.

Josephine County at the crossroads of another proposed budget cut predicament.

Members of the Budget Committee will meet several times before adopting a budget.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

Leave a Comment:

Note: Comments with profanity are automatically filtered and hidden. Verbal attacks towards others via our comments section will not be tolerated.