WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla County Sheriff John Turner told county commissioners during budget hearings Wednesday multiple programs could be at risk if he has to cut any more from his 2013 projected budget.
Turner’s projected budget includes an overall 12.13 percent increase in expenses, and a projected 20.9 percent decrease in revenue, a shortfall of $263,105.
The largest projected budget increase falls in the Operations Division, which includes patrol, SWAT, investigations and the Registered Sex Offender program. The total requested increase is 17.5 percent, or $346,284. The increase includes a projected 3 percent average salary increase for deputies.
According to Turner, these costs represent core services and can’t be trimmed any further.
“These are all estimates we feel confident about,” Turner told commissioners during the hearing. “We do not employ enough people. The only thing we could look at is ancillary services.”
That could mean losing programs such as DARE, Safe Boating, marijuana eradication and seat belt and DUI emphasis patrols.
“These are the really tough decisions I might have to make,” Turner said.
The projected budget for special programs is $73,147. According to County Auditor Karen Martin, however, the programs are grant programs that don’t affect the overall budget.
Martin said these special programs have offsetting revenue attached, and even if they are cut, there is still a $1.9 million budget shortfall in the county’s general fund budget.
“If (Turner) is going to cut, he needs to cut in other areas of the budget,” Martin said.