Josephine Co. leaders discuss budget

Grants Pass, Ore. — Josephine County leaders met with commissioners Tuesday to discuss the next budget year.

At least one office is facing significant cuts.

The two-hour meeting featured presentations from the heads of the forestry department, juvenile justice and the district attorney.

Some of the major revelations came from the district attorney.

His office is asking for more than $500,000 dollars in additional funds in the next fiscal year, in part, to offset an expected 45 percent cut in funding from the public safety budget.

He says the responsibilities of the district attorney are very important and Commissioner Simon Hare seems to agree.

“People are most familiar with police, law enforcement officers on the streets and detectives but the DA plays a crucial role in the criminal justice system. We cannot have a criminal justice system that functions if you do not have a functioning district attorney,” District Attorney Ryan Mulkins said.

“The DA’s office has stayed as whole as possible because they are that cog in the middle of the wheel. Nothing really happens if you don’t have a district attorney to prosecute those cases,” Commissioner Simon Hare said.

The district attorney told commissioners the cuts couldn’t come at a worse time.

So far this fiscal year which started in July, the office has prosecuted more than 2,200 cases.

The district attorney says demand for his office’s services are currently at a 16-year high.

With the current numbers in the budget, the district attorney’s office would be losing five support staff and a third of its attorneys.

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