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Elvis Clark: Measure 3-566 lacks oversight, was rushed to May 18 ballot as commissioners expressed reservations

Clackamas County's sheriff is asking for a property tax increase, Measure 3-566, appearing on the May 18 ballot. Elvis Clark

Measure 3-566 does not provide for independent oversight. Instead, the sheriff is entrusted with using the Public Safety Levy funds on positions and resources as stipulated in Measure 3-566.

The problem with entrusting the sheriff with oversight is that in recent years the levy has been folded into the sheriff's total department budget.

There also is the uncertainty that positions are not the same as actual filled positions. The positions promised in the Measure 3-566 explanatory statement could be left unfilled, and these funds used elsewhere by the sheriff.

Citizens are left to wonder whether the Sheriff's Office might become top heavy with high-paid administrative staff with the increase in property-tax revenues, instead of being directed toward covering the county adequately with patrol officers.

By comparison, Clackamas County's Enhanced Law Enforcement District (ELED), approved by voters in 1994, does have an independent oversight committee, which seems to ensure ELED property tax revenues are used on patrol officers as promised by the ELED Measure.

I complained this past February in oral testimony before the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners about the lack of adequate public input process in the sheriff's preparation of Measure 3-566.

Commissioner Paul Savas acknowledged the public-input process was rushed in placing Measure 3-566 on the ballot this May. In the end, county commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of placing Measure 3-566 on the ballot. Commissioner Sonya Fischer expressed reservations in voting in favor of Measure 3-566, saying she is wanting to trust the new sheriff.

Elvis Clark is a resident of Milwaukie.


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