Clackamas County Budget Committee Passes Record $1.8 Billion Budget

Oregon City, Ore. — Clackamas County’s Budget Committee recently approved a historic budget of nearly $1.8 billion, the largest in the county’s history. The budget, which includes various funding sources such as grants, property taxes, and state and federal funds, has now been passed to the Board of County Commissioners for final adoption in June. The Board has the authority to accept, reject, or modify the approved budget. The decision made by the Board will be implemented on July 1.

Sheriff’s Office Budget Faces Financial Performance Audit

The Budget Committee, comprising five members of the public and five Clackamas County commissioners, unanimously approved a motion to conduct a financial performance audit of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. This action aims to ensure fiscal transparency and accountability within the Sheriff’s Office. The motion passed with eight votes in favor and one abstention.

Emphasis on Public Safety

Public safety takes center stage in the approved budget, with a proposed allocation of $74.6 million for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. In total, the county is committing $116.1 million, accounting for 74% of the general fund, to public safety initiatives. The District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Department, and Disaster Management also play crucial roles in the county’s public safety framework.

Replacement County Courthouse Project

The budget’s approval clears the path for the replacement county courthouse project, scheduled to be completed in 2025. The existing courthouse, built in 1936, was designed for a population of under 50,000 and can no longer adequately serve the growing population of 420,000 residents. With functional obsolescence, safety risks, and delays in justice, the replacement courthouse becomes a critical element of public safety. The Board had previously finalized the project using a private-public partnership model, ensuring no additional local taxes for county residents. The county will fund its share of the courthouse through existing tax revenues while continuing to provide essential services such as public safety and housing.

Budget Reductions and Streamlined Operations

The Budget Committee was tasked with reducing its operating budget by $15 million, necessitating a comprehensive evaluation of the county’s programs and services to eliminate redundancies and streamline operations. As part of this effort, the county proposed eliminating 107 vacant positions and 23 currently filled positions, minimizing job losses. Notably, no vacant or filled positions in departments led by elected officials, including the Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices, are slated for elimination.