Patrols, investigations and support services from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office; the Sheriff's Family Justice Center; criminal prosecution from the District Attorney's Office; and County Parks were among the highest rated services by respondents of a Clackamas County survey.
County leaders sought feedback from residents about general fund services because of an anticipated budget gap in future years because of declining state and federal revenues and increasing costs of doing business. The county is required by law to have a balanced budget.
The survey ran for several months toward the end of 2019 and received more than 3,000 responses, which is the equivalent of around 1% of the county's total adult population.
"I'd like to thank the thousands of residents and stakeholders who took the time to provide this valuable feedback," said Clackamas County Administrator Gary Schmidt. "County leaders are dedicated to become more financially efficient and live within our means."
The county's Budget Advisory Committee will use the survey's results in future decisions. Along with conducting the survey, county departments have cut costs by 2% to 5% and implemented a hiring freeze in which only essential positions are being filled.
The highest-rated services included various Sheriff's Office divisions, the District Attorney, County Parks, Juvenile Offender Accountability and the Library system. Services with the lowest average rating included Conflict Resolution, Public Health Population Health Strategies, Property Valuation and the County Surveyor.
"Perhaps this means the county needs to do a better job making sure the public better understands these services," a county website dedicated to the results read. "We can clearly see that the community puts high value on law and justice-related services. Of the top-10 rated services, only County Parks and Library Systems were outside that category."
Of the survey's respondents, more than 1,500 respondents said they lived in cities within the county and nearly 1,200 said they lived in unincorporated areas. With the exception of sheriff patrols and jail operations, city residents rated services higher than unincorporated residents.
For more information about the results of the survey, visit clackamas.us/budget/the-rightsizing-of-clackcos-budget.
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