Lubbock County Commissioners propose $3 million in budget cuts

Debate over proposed county budget

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock County Commissioners Court has proposed a new budget that they say will save taxpayers some money.

The proposed budget is more than $3 million less than the current budget, but that proposed budget comes at a cost, as some departments are being asked to find cuts in their budgets from last year to make it possible.

The Lubbock County Sheriff's Office is one of these departments and the sheriff says this kind of a cut could possibly put the safety of Lubbock County residents at risk.

"Earlier this week we received notice on how the budgets across the counties were going to be handled. As a result, we're having to deal with over a $2 million cut to our existing budget," Sheriff Kelly Rowe said.

Sheriff Rowe says he's never seen a cut like this in his 20 years working in the office and claims it could be detrimental for officer safety.

"When you take a hit like it...makes that much more challenging because we have to figure out, to try to accomplish what do, we have to sacrifice in order to keep doing what we got to do every day," he said.

County Commissioner Bill McCay said the commissioners are not trying to compromise safety. In fact, the sheriff's office budget went from just under $13 million last year to $15 million. McCay says this year's proposed cut is just to keep the tax rate low.

"We have met the needs in keeping the community safe and we've invested, increasing patrol in the county. We've invested in the war on drugs when the sheriff came to us a couple years ago and we funded the anti-gang task force center," McCay said. "As far as Lubbock County, we get budget requests and we look at those requests and the sheriff's budget is lower than last year's."

The sheriff's office was not the only department whose budget was looked at - every department was asked to take a look at their budget.

"We are looking at every department, not just in a particular department," McCay said. "We cut the budgets, not just the sheriff's. We have years in past tried to maintain the lowest tax rate as possible."

While some departments might see a decrease in their expenses, McCay says the money cut isn't going anywhere but back to the taxpayers.

"It's going to go towards the taxpayers and it's going to stay in the pockets of the taxpayers," McCay said.

The proposed budget will be voted on in September.

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