Klamath County Sheriff says budget will cause cuts in patrols, jail beds

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The Klamath County Sheriff says a proposed budget will force him to cut patrols, and shut down 2 jail pods.

Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah says meeting a ‘target’ budget would force deputy layoffs. “They’re asking for us to reduce patrol staff by 13 deputies.  Hell, I only have 12,” said Sheriff Skrah.

Skrah says the cuts would also extend to the jail, “The jail pods will close.  We will go back to ‘B’ and ‘C’ pods being closed.”

The proposed budget would give the Sheriff about $8.4 million. The Sheriff says he needs a little over $10 million, “In other words, the same monies that I got back in 2013, 2014, and 2105.”

The county’s chief financial officer Jason Link says some of the budget gap is due to uncertainty over federal timber funds. “If those funds are going to exist, what level they look like they’re going to be, and that sort of thing,” said Link. He also added the budget committee has limited options to bridge the funding gap, “All the way from using working capital within the general funds, spending that down to a very unsustainable level, to utilizing more road funds.”

Sheriff Skrah says he wants the public to know that he’s not crying ‘wolf’, “They look at us, ‘Oh well, it’s a threat by the Sheriff to close down jail pods so he can get more money.’ No, it’s not.  It’s a reality of what’s going on.”

The Sheriff is scheduled to go before the Klamath County Budget Committee Thursday morning.

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