Finding Cuts Easier said than Done
by: Pat Hernandez, January 21, 2011 5:01:00 pm
Harris County employees are being notified of their termination as officials try to trim the county's 1.3-billion dollar budget for the fiscal year that begins in March. Budget director Dick Raycraft has asked each department to find ways to cut 10-percent from their budgets. Christina Garza with the Harris County Sheriff's Department says that means finding 40-million dollars to cut.
"We're already understaffed. Our resources are already very very thin. Our deputies are working overtime. They're out on patrol. They're out working the jail. They're overworked. We're doing more with a whole lot less, and so an additional cut of 40-million dollars makes it almost nearly impossible for us to run this operation."
Garza adds Sheriff Adrian Garcia will do everything he can to maintain a high level of law enforcement:
"Our commitment to public safety is paramount; however, we are asking for the citizens of Harris County to also help us out a bit. For example, we've implemented an online resource where people can report minor crimes. This will help us not having to send out a deputy for a crime that can easily be reported online."
While a hiring freeze in Harris County has saved millions of dollars, it has put a strain on department operations. The Sheriff's office is short 256-employees on jail operations alone. Department heads are working on budget drafts in preparation for budget hearings that begin next week.