Grants Pass, Ore. — With the special election less than a week away, some members from the Josephine County Budget Committee are concerned about the safety of the county.
“You take a 7.8 million dollar budget… you dwindle it down to a 5.7… we’re gonna take a hit,” Sheriff Dave Daniel said.
Sheriff Dave Daniel explained to county leaders Thursday afternoon what staffing would look like with a 2.1 million shortfall.
“Patrols would be eliminated with the exception of the contract deputies as I previously stated… the dispatcher would no longer take 911 calls,” Sheriff Dave Daniel said.
With the money allocated to the Sheriff’s Department in the next budget cycle, positions would be eliminated from patrol, dispatch, the civil division, court security and evidence.
Search and Rescue is the only part of the Sheriff’s Department that wouldn’t see any significant cuts.
“I just think that the budget cuts presented in this budget go too far,” Budget Committee member Steve Welch said.
After Sheriff Dave Daniel’s presentation, some budget committee members – including Welch – were a bit concerned for the safety of the county.
“I think the statistics that he presented as far as the 17 fewer patrol and the zero responses for a myriad of items puts the county at risk,” Welch said.
One way to reduce the cuts is the levy currently on the ballot.
While the Sheriff says passing it is necessary, other’s aren’t so sure.
Mark Seligman has been against the levy from the start.
He doesn’t think Josephine County residents can afford the levy.
“The reason we have a low tax rate is because we have the lowest income in the state,” Seligman said.
The sheriff is hoping more voters think it’s something they can’t afford to turn down.
“I’m hoping the citizens of this county will realize that they can’t rely on the federal government for support like we used to in the past,” Sheriff Dave Daniel said.
Sheriff Dave Daniel says revenue from other sources like marijuana production might be a possibility in the future, but it wouldn’t be enough to fill the budget gap.
The budget committee plans to meet again on May 18th.
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