Clackamas County Budget Committee calls for financial performance audit of Sheriff’s office.
The Clackamas County Budget Committee on Wednesday passed the approved nearly $1.8 billion budget – the highest budget in the county’s history – to the Board of County Commissioners.
This approved budget, which includes service district and agency budgets, dedicated state and federal funds, grants, property taxes, and other revenue sources, now goes to the Board of County Commissioners for final adoption in June. The Board will accept, reject or modify the approved Budget Committee budget. The Board’s decision is final and will be implemented on July 1.
Sheriff’s Office Budget & Audit
The Budget Committee, comprised of five members of the public and the five Clackamas County commissioners, approved a motion recommending Clackamas County initiate a financial performance audit of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. The motion passed 8-0, with one abstention. This action will ensure overall fiscal transparency and accountability within the Sheriff’s Office.
The centerpiece of the budget is public safety. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office proposed budget of $74.6 million is part of a total of $116.1 million that the county is committing to public safety – or 74 percent of the county’s general fund. The District Attorney’s Office ($14.7 million in general funds), Juvenile ($8.8 in general funds) and Disaster Management ($3 million in general funds) also make up the public safety model of the county.
“This has been a challenging year as we have made changes and continue to try to make the impacts equitable for all parts of the county,” said Budget Committee Chairperson Wilda Parks. “I’m happy we have been able to keep public safety services intact and assist our most vulnerable residents, including children. The county has so many good people working in every department – we value and appreciate their good work.”
Replacement County Courthouse Project
The passage of the budget paves the way for the replacement county courthouse project, which is set to open in 2025. A replacement courthouse is a critical link in public safety for Clackamas County residents. Built in 1936, the current courthouse was designed to serve a population of less than 50,000 and can no longer adequately serve a population of 420,000 that continues to grow. The current courthouse is functionally obsolete, poses significant safety risks and contributes to delays in justice.
The Board finalized the construction of the replacement county courthouse last year, using a private-public partnership model which does not raise any local taxes on county residents. The county will now be able to fund its share of the courthouse with existing tax revenues and continue the county’s core services to county residents such as public safety, housing and more.
“Replacing the courthouse is essential to public safety,” Clackamas County District Attorney John Wentworth told the Budget Committee on Tuesday. “It is critical. Public safety does not begin and end when a Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrives on the scene.”
The Budget Committee was tasked with reducing its operating budget by $15 million, which required a thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of the county’s programs and services to eliminate redundancies and waste while streamlining operations. To that end, the county proposed to eliminate 107 vacant and 23 currently filled positions, keeping job loss to a minimum. No vacant or filled positions in departments headed by elected officials are slated to be eliminated. That includes the Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices.
To review the budget documents and other related content, visit the county’s budget page.