Community members argue, public safety isn’t just about police and fire services

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The county budget was the topic of discussion during a meeting of county supervisors Monday night. As Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop presented a “public safety budget,” members of the community argued – public safety isn’t just about police and fire services.

A “public safety budget” means the majority of the county’s money – some 60 percent – will go toward maintaining the Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department. So while most county departments are taking a 2.5 percent reduction in funding, sheriff and fire will not.

And those unbalanced cuts are forcing some community members to speak out. 

“I just really think that the libraries and the education should get more of a budget cut seeing as our education and our libraries are going to get us where we want to go – they’re going to get us in those seats that you’re sitting in right now,” said 15-year-old Sarah Aguirre as she addressed the board Monday night. 

And she wasn’t alone. A large majority of the audience spent the meeting campaigning for more funds to be allocated to things like local parks, sidewalks, street lighting, code enforcement, and libraries. Departments that are already suffering countywide as 60 percent of the general fund goes to public safety. 

“At the end of the day, when you’re trying to maintain public safety services, everything else kind of takes a back seat,” said Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop. 

“I’ve just seen how crime has risen in the area,” said Robert Scott who has lived in Oildale for 15 years. 

Folks like Scott say, we need more sheriff’s deputies, no matter the cost. 

“I would like to see more sheriff’s on the road. I don’t care how they do it, I want to see it done because I think that we need to be safe,” Scott said. 

The Board of Supervisors Budget Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28th.

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