Budget Presentation Remarks Prepared for
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts
To be delivered May 21 at 2:15 p.m.
Ø Good afternoon, County Commissioners and members of the Budget Committee.
Ø I’m Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. I’m here today to offer some brief comments regarding the Sheriff’s Office and Community Corrections budgets for the 2012/2013 fiscal year.
Ø Before I begin, I’d like to acknowledge all of the time and effort that the members of our organization have put into preparing this year’s budget — especially our Budget Manager, Barbara Hass, Undersheriffs Dave Kirby and Matt Ellington, each of our five division captains and their staff.
Ø Thanks to all of their hard work, I am confident that the document we have provided to you is sufficient to answer all of your material questions about our budget for the next 12 months.
Ø First I would like to thank the county for the opportunity in the last budget year to move into the vacant Sunnybrook building in order to consolidate operations and improve efficiencies.
I would like to remind the budget committee that when this opportunity was presented to me by the county, I made it clear that I would not sacrifice staff by paying debt service for improved facilities.
With that understanding we consolidated our operations into the Sunnybrook building and moved forward with other facility projects.
Ø This year I’ve decided to put this budget into a broader context and offer you my opinion of what it means for public safety in Clackamas County.
Ø In short, this is not a budget that I recommend. It is not a budget that I endorse.
It is the budget I was required to put forward by the limits placed on me by the County.
Ø After a careful examination of the County’s proposed budget, I believe that the budget does not reflect the public safety expectations of the citizens of Clackamas County and the Board of County Commissioners’ strategic plan to, “Protect people from violence through continuing to build a best in class public safety system . . .”
Ø Between Fiscal Year 05/06 and 10/11, the county’s total property tax revenue has increased by nearly 27 percent — from $72 million to $92 million.
Ø During those six years, the Sheriff’s Office budget as a percentage of that property tax revenue has declined from 53 percent to 45 percent.
Ø As a result, the Sheriff’s Office budget has not kept pace with the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for the Portland Metropolitan Area — and we have not been able to keep up with
· …increasing labor rates negotiated — but not paid for — by the county
· …county allocated costs;
· …increasing County 911 dispatch rates
Just to name a few
Ø Decline in General Fund support has placed the Sheriff’s Office at a critical crossroads.
We have done our part we have not stood idly by in the face of financial challenges. Just like those in the private sector we have tightened our belts as funds have decreased.
Ø Over the past six years, the Sheriff’s Office has implemented innovative cost-saving measures, cut back on training and reduced and eliminated public safety programs.
Ø Last year, we eliminated 19 FTE and laid off staff.
Ø In addition last year we were directed by the county administrator to stop filling vacancies. As a result, our staff was reduced as people retired or left employment with the Sheriff’s Office.
Ø While not filling vacancies saves money in the short term, it increases costs in the long run. Having fewer deputies available means paying more overtime and forces a reduction in services available to the public.
Ø Also, recruiting and training deputies isn’t a quick or easy process. It takes about two years from start to finish — so the positions that we are leaving unfilled today will be a burden on our operations for years to come.
Ø In this proposed budget, we are being forced to eliminate another 11 deputy positions, and we are now looking seriously at closing jail beds that have been open since 2007, with the support of the voter-approved public safety levy.
Ø All of this is happening while the county’s property tax revenue is actually increasing.
County government is making an affirmative decision to redirect funds away from public safety and ignore the priorities that the citizens have set.
Ø Indeed, this is directly at odds with the county’s own five-year strategic plan which, on page 13,
lists as its first goal within its first area of focus, “Protect people from violence through continuing to build a best in class public safety system…”
Ø There is another example within the county’s strategic plan that I feel deserves to be highlighted, because it is directly impacted by this year’s budget.
Ø Among the county’s specific objectives within its goal of helping to keep citizens safe is to: “Reduce recidivism within our public safety programs…”
Ø In Clackamas County, one of our best opportunities to steer people away from crime lies with Community Corrections — our parole and probation program.
Ø Since the Sheriff’s Office assumed management of Community Corrections, it has earned a national reputation for its effectiveness in reducing recidivism which fulfills the county’s stated goal.
Ø This year the proposed budget forces us to eliminate 20 Community Corrections positions. Only about one third of this cut is the result of reductions in state funding.
Ø It is important for me to point out that the citizens of Clackamas County have twice stepped up to support a public safety levy, most recently with a 76% voter approval — in spite of the weak local economy.
Ø However, even as we are able to continue to fund some deputies with the levy resources the public has given us, the County is cutting the number of deputies it supports through the general fund.
Ø Put another way, the money that the voters are giving us through the front door to increase patrol and jail services is being carried out the back door by the County’s cuts to the Sheriff’s general fund support.
Ø As the chart behind me reveals, the last time we had this few deputies being paid for by the county’s general fund was in fiscal year 05-06.
Ø Let me reiterate: While property tax revenue continues to increase the law enforcement cuts we are looking at reflect the reduction of Sheriff’s Office general fund support from 53% to 45%.
Ø Along with every other member of the Sheriff’s Office, I have worked hard for the past six years to protect the public to the best of my ability, in spite of the limitations that have been placed on us.
Ø I have an obligation to the citizens of Clackamas County and to you, the Budget Committee, to make clear that these unsustainable budgets put the safety of the community and the lives of our deputies at risk.
Ø In summary this proposed budget will require me to:
· Eliminate 11 deputy positions in addition to the 19 positions we had to cut in order to balance last year’s budget
· Eliminate 20 positions in Community Corrections that will result in 10.5 layoffs
· Close the Residential Center eliminating 34 beds designed to hold offenders accountable in the community rather than in jail
· Not open the 50 jail beds created by the county approved remodel
· Consider closing 84 jail beds which will directly offset the 84 beds funded by the levy
Ø As the independently elected Sheriff, it is my duty and obligation to explain….
why voters will not be getting the increased services they voted for.
It gives me no pleasure to offer this message to you. On two occasions I have gone before the voters of Clackamas County to ask them to vote for a public safety levy with the promise that it would maintain a certain level of critical law enforcement services. This proposed budget breaks that promise.
Ø That is why I strongly urge this budget committee not to adopt this budget without amendments that meet the public safety expectations of Clackamas County citizens and keeps the promise to the voters.
Ø Thank you for your time.