This week, the Lane County Sheriff released nearly 100 prisoners from jail, including three homicide suspects. Friday nearly 30 sheriff's employees were laid off. The District Attorney has to lay off at least 14 from his office. The county has a bare bones budget due to loss of timber funding and low property tax revenue.
District Attorney Alex Gardner says the public safety situation is going to get worse. He says due to the jail releases, the county is going to get less money from the state. He says public safety money is distributed based on how many people are in jail or on probation.
Gardner: "Failure to fund the system at adequate levels makes everything worse, not just today, but it insures that it's going to be worse three years from today. It's going to be that much more expensive for our community to carry its own water and that's scary. So we've got the immediate consequences which are terrible. People are going to be hurt as a result of this."
Gardner says he and the sheriff can only do their best with what they have. He says if Lane County citizens wanted to fix the problem they could. They've voted down public safety tax measures 15 times in the last 20 years.
Copyright 2012 KLCC.