The budget cuts won’t be as deep as Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury feared, but he said they’ll still hurt the county.
“We’re limited,” said Salisbury, “Very, very limited and that’s going to affect safety, public safety in our community.”
Salisbury won’t have to lay off any current deputies, but budget cuts approved Tuesday will eliminate nine positions currently unfilled.
Earlier this summer, Mason County Commissioners told elected agency heads to make more than $2 million in cuts for the rest of 2017.
Salisbury said that would require laying off eight deputies while leaving nine open positions unfilled.
Following a public hearing Tuesday, which required an overflow room to handle the number of people who wanted to speak, commissioners ended up approving $1.8 million in cuts.
Instead of the near $900,000 in cuts the commissioners originally asked for from the sheriff, commissioners voted 2-1 to approve cuts closer to $718,000 from the sheriff’s office.
The change meant current deputies could keep their jobs, but the unfilled positions would be eliminated.
Five of those positions came from the jail staff.
Salisbury said as a result, not all drunk drivers will be booked into the jail, and there might not be enough staff to house low-level offenders, even those with arrest warrants.