Sheriff’s Department Takes A $28 Million Hit At Budget Hearing

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Jennifer Muir has the story over at the OC, but here are some of the highlights.

SANTA ANA Despite warnings that slashing the sheriff’s department could cripple jails, increase response times and impact investigations, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appeared poised to cut nearly $28 million from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department budget.

It’s the largest cut to services that supervisors are expected to make in the next two days as they consider how to carve more than $1 billion from next year’s spending plan.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said the department may soon get some financial relief in the form of a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house federal immigration detainees. The sheriff asked for $7.3 million to stave off jail layoffs for six months – allowing time for the federal contract to take effect.

Public Safety budgets were targeted this time because other county departments were hit hard with the budget ax earlier this year.

“In making the tough cuts required to balance the county’s budget, your Board of Supervisors are demonstrating a marked contrast from the state legislature,” Chairwoman Pat Bates said. “This board refuses to pass today’s financial problem on until tomorrow. Today we must and we will demonstrate true fiscal discipline by showing we intend to live within our means and spend our constituents hard-earned tax dollars in a wise and efficient manner.”

Probation is looking at a $4.9 million reduction and the public defender is poised to lose $1.5 million.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas got some relief from supervisors Tuesday, who voted to cut his budget by $8.6 million — giving him about $2 million more than county executives recommended. The extra cash, which will likely come from the county’s already dwindling reserves, carries a condition proposed by Supervisor Bill Campbell: You can’t ask for more later in the year. No matter what happens.

Read Jennifer Muir’s complete story here.

  1 comment for “Sheriff’s Department Takes A $28 Million Hit At Budget Hearing

  1. June 10, 2009 at 8:43 am

    It is clear that the Republicans who control Orange County government are following the same battle plan as the national Republican Party lead by Rush Limbaugh — convince the voters that the recovery had failed, that President Obama has failed, and that they’re worse off than they were a year ago.

    It is also clear that the County’s Republican leaders want the County to declare bankruptcy — so that they can get out of the contracts they’ve signed with county employees, and specifically their pension fund obligations.

    If this means catastrophic cuts in public safety and education, OC’s Republicans more than willing to do it, especially since they’re convinced that their blusters about taxes and their immigrant bashing will return them to office no matter how disastrously they govern.

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