Thursday, May 28, 2009

Enhanced Law Enforcement District annual Budget Committee meeting

Today, I sat in on yet another annual Budget Committee meeting for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Enhanced Law Enforcement District, with predictable results; the recommended budget saw no dissent in its adoption, following little discussion.

The committee was called to order at 0834, this time in the Development Services Building at 150 Beavercreek Road (which, amazingly, NAVTEC and other geodata providers to Google Maps and Mapquest could not locate).

Paul Ellison was nominated, seconded and elected chair for this meeting; Dan Hunker was elected secretary.

Sheriff Roberts was then called to present the budget. He read his letter of 28th May nearly verbatim, and I'll attach a copy to this post in short order once I fire up the scanner.

The gist of the letter is, to keep up with the promises made when the ELED was enacted, 12 deputies should be added to patrol the District. However, The People, In Their Infinite Wisdom, have also enacted Measures 5, 37 and 48, which placed a cap on how much property tax can be collected, and then also voted for other taxation measures which compete (under the constitutionalized provisos of said aforementioned Measures) with the taxes needed for the ELED.

Result (IMHO): When folks vote themselves other services (e.g., Park District), the taxation for those other services reduce what can be collected for the ELED, and the ELED is boxed in and can't deliver what folks want.

One county commissioner asked about the area of the Rosewood CPO (west of the Willamette), which is not part of the main mass of the ELED, and is taxed by the ELED, yet does not have a dedicated patrol car. Do they get what they think they should get despite their isolation? Should the Sheriff contract with a nearby law enforcement agency to patrol there?
BACKGROUND: There are 25, count them, 25 isolated portions of the ELED outside of the main mass of the District. A map can be seen at http:/ named ELED boundaries 2006.pdf ). As Cities grow, and expand their boundaries so those cities may tax desirable portions of what were before unincorporated areas of the county, parts of the District get cut off, and the map gets even more gerrymandered.

Sheriff Roberts, quite sensibly, answered there is a lower frequency of calls there, so cars covering those widely separated areas are the first to be pulled. He added the department believes a patrol car is needed there.

Captain Ellington did note DUII & other self-initiated arrests were up when there was more regular patrolling in that area, but the CCSO had to pull back when budget cuts occurred. He did confirm that Stafford, Rosemont, and other areas out to border of Wilsonville plus other areas almost to Estacada are part of the ELED.

The subject of pay hikes required by the contract with the union then arose, as increases in salary/benefits also reduce the numbers of offices on patrol. County commissioner Lynn Peterson asked, have we lost that much buying power over the years? The Sheriff confirmed Commissioner Peterson's query.

Mr. Hunker asked if Metro expands the Urban Growth Boundary, would the ELED expand automatically? Sheriff Roberts replied to say he was uncertain, and added the matter could be referred to a vote of the people when the levy is renewed.

Commissioner Peterson added such expansion is about three to four yrs away and there is time to consider the matter.

A motion was made to adopt the budget, and after some technical language was ironed out, was seconded and adopted with no dissent. The committee then adjourned at 08:47, not to meet for another year.

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