MADRAS, OR -- With one week before the Special Election, Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins is trying to convey what he says is a serious budget situation, before voters decide on his Jail Levy. "I’ve had those people who say I am ‘just bluffing’ and I am not. So, the reality is that money will run out and I will be forced to actually make cuts."
Adkins says the current five-year operating levy expires June 30, about the same time a new jail opens in Prineville. Crook County rents around 30 beds at Jefferson County’s Jail. But, Adkins tells KBND News, "They’re leaving us, probably the first of July. So, that means a deficit – a loss of about $700,000- $800,000." He says his jail's budget has been supplemented for years by Crook County taxpayers, "We house between 25 and 32 of their inmates, and have since about 2003. The moneys we got from Crook County during that contract actually saved Jefferson County taxpayers money. It kept our taxes lower by renting these beds out to another county."
The three-year request for $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed property value is 15 cents more than the expiring levy. A more expensive five-year levy request was defeated last November. Adkins says if this one fails, he’ll be forced to lay-off 40 to 50% of his jail staff, "With my current staffing - the way it is now – [and] the way the jail is built, I can house about 110 inmates. If I’m forced to reduce my staff by 50%, let’s say, I’m going to house only 24 inmates." He says he's able to have three people on duty at a time, right now, "If I have to cut my staff, I will have one deputy on that watches over the whole entire jail." He adds, "This does not pay for anything else in the Sheriff’s Office, like Patrol Division. This runs the jail, takes care of the inmates and pays the electricity."
Ballots are due by 8 p.m. May 21. Tuesday, May 14 is the last day to mail them. After the 14th, you should take them to an official ballot drop site. In Jefferson County, drop-boxes are located in Crooked River Ranch, near the tennis courts, the Warm Springs fire station, Culver City Hall, Metolius City Hall and the Jefferson County Annex building in Madras. Click HERE for a list of Deschutes County drop sites.