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Small government is a matter of right priorities
At a recent Island County budget workshop, Sheriff Mark Brown asked for $1.4 million for more deputies and replacement vehicles. His request was met by sharp criticism from commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Angie Homola for not being sensitive to the needs of “other departments.” The sheriff’s job is to advocate for his department. He is the expert on law enforcement issues. To ask for less than he thinks is needed would be irresponsible. Public safety is his priority.
The question is, what is the first priority of Island County commissioners Price-Johnson and Homola? If public safety is their priority, then Island County should be hiring deputies ahead of and instead of any other employees. Island County should fix the public safety program. The budget cuts made in 2010 eliminated 10 deputies from the force. At the time budget cuts were made Commissioner Price–Johnson stated “This is what smaller government looks like, and it is hard.”
If public safety is the Board of Island County Commissioners’ number one priority, they should first try to find the needed funds in other departments. If the board has scrubbed the other department budgets and cannot find the money for public safety, they should bring a reasonable, targeted tax proposal to the voters instead of the failed Proposition 1 that asked the voters for a virtual blank check. Commissioners Price Johnson and Homola have had multiple opportunities to put a new proposal on the ballot in the intervening two years.
The failure of Commissioners Price Johnson and Homola to address the need for adequate public safety funding is negligent and they should not be re-elected. That is why I am voting for Jeff Lauderdale and Jill Johnson for Island County commissioners on Nov. 6.