According to information received from Jackson County, there will be across the board cuts in the budget for the next fiscal year. In an effort to stop the leaks, the Commissioners have adopted a budget at a level 1.7 million dollars less than last year. This amount, according to Commissioner Doug Breidenthal, will not immediately balance the budget, but will slow the leaking.
In the next three years, their goal is to trim the budget so expenditures equal income. They are currently operating at about a $7 million deficit by drawing on reserves. They realize that it cannot continue on forever in this fashion.
One of the areas being hit the hardest, at least in terms of the total budget will be the libraries. For this year, they will be cut by $250,000 and according to Briedenthal, there is a possibility that within a few years the libraries will close altogether. RVTD will be cut about $90,000 and the county’s designated cougar hunter will lose his job, a savings of $60,000. The county will no longer carry the televised commissioners meetings, the sheriff’s department will be trimmed by $250,000. RVCOG will no longer be in the picture for the county, Health and Human Services will suffer a big loss of about $350,000 and the county’s contribution of the OSU Extension service will be reduced by $204,000.
Commissioner’s pay will be frozen and there will be no cost of living increases and no Steps increases. According to Briedenthal, the commission is charged with the responsibility of balancing the budget, no ifs ands of buts. Sheriff Winters told the Independent that a part of the reduction he will see will be taken up with attrition. However, the jail is a mandated responsibility and must be maintained. That means some of the patrol deputies have had to be shifted from their normal jobs to jail positions. What that is going to mean is longer response time and less patrols throughout the county.