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Jackson County Facing Budget Cuts

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The sheriff’s office is the latest department to see budget cuts in the past few years, the number of full time employees has gone from 1,075 to 866 about a 20% drop over the span of five years.

County leaders say complicating things was a $4 million increase in public employee retirement service payments. Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan says the past five years have been difficult for the county’s budget.

“We’ve lost revenue for county services, state and federal funding has been reduced,” Jordan says. “A lot of state program budget cut backs in the current year and more expected in the next year and our federal funding which is the biggest because we’ve lost 23 million dollars in federal O & C recipts.”

As a result departments ranging from the County Assessor to the District Attorney’s Office have seen cuts and now the sheriff’s department. Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert says her office is taking a hit by having to eliminate an open attorney position entirely.

“That used to be 20 attorneys,” says Heckert. “We had one attorney leave in the last month or so and because of the budget we will not be able to fill that attorney’s position.”

With increasing case loads and decreasing staff, Heckert says her office may have to follow the lead of other counties.

“Most counties have either stopped prosecuting some type of case, so that may be the route we may have to take come July when these effects take effect,” Heckert explained.

On top of dealing with the decrease in federal funding, Jordan says making room for an unexpected increase in retirement services this year has been one of the big factors.

“Getting $4 million of increases in costs for retirement when you have no revenue means you have to cut $4 million in expenses,” explained Jordan.

Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert says the county hasn’t seen this few attorneys since 2005 to 2010.

5 comments

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  1. hoipolloi says:

    “a $4 million increase in public employee retirement service payments” I think this could be the real story hear. It sounds like another government agency collapsing under the weight of its retirement benefits package, we have seen this scenario bankrupt cities in California.

  2. Mark says:

    The REAL problem is the $23 MILLION lost from O & C (thanks to all the enviro-wingnuts)!

  3. derek says:

    THose wingnuts sure mess it up for everyone. BUt so do those county, state, and federal employees collecting huge salaries for the rest of their lives due to police and fire retirement packages. Collecting 80 % of ones top salary for the rest of ones life is not sustainable for the rest of the working class to foot the bill. Many of these cops and firefighters retire at 55 to 60 and live to be damn near 100. You do the math and you will see that our taxpaying public cannot possibly foot that bill.

  4. Mike says:

    Danny Jordan, Mike Winters, Commissioner CW Smith have all pulled from the kettle and pot…just which one ?? The rainy day fund ? The 650,000. loan to Danny ? The fish-hatchery monies ? The new jail make-over and 15 million remodel for Mike (not necessary!)

    Then they claim those funds couldn’t be used for these needs….

    Well tell ya what, Danny you repay your 650,000. LOAN right away and just put it back in the pot. Or the kettle. Or whichever way you WELL PAID employees see fit. Hows that pool and spa at your residence working for ya ?

    After all — it isn’t like Winters had 10 years and 20 Million a year to run the department- – but couldn’t figure out how to do it correctly. Bet Winters never had a college accounting class a day in his life. It shows.

    Throw them out next election cycle. Maybe Danny will even forfeit his own plump package $$$
    Three year package right ? Housing, car, cell , medical, dental…can’t wait for this Joe to leave.

    This is simple Union-busting and it will come around to bite those who are attempting to do it. If Danny tossed his loan money back in, it would more than cover what they propose to give to the Deputies. Imagine that.

    Now, about those expense accounts….

  5. Mark Jones says:

    Well watch out! Speed traps will be everywhere trying to raise revenue. Whats the worst that can happen one these guys are gone? Less police brutality, less tickets..

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