DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County Commissioners are slashing budget items, as the county sees less tax revenue coming in.
Among the changes, commissioners voted to start charging a fee for the sheriff department’s freeway patrol. Deputies had patrolled freeways in cities for free for the past several years.
Smaller Dallas County cities, like Lancaster, DeSoto and Cedar Hill, say they can’t afford to pay and don’t have the manpower to patrol highways themselves.
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez insisted the new fees will have a negative impact on traffic. Valdez said her deputies average less than 30 minutes in clearing accidents — compared with 2 1/2 hours in the City of Dallas.
There are other Sheriff’s Office changes. The Traffic Unit staff will be reduced by about a third. Currently, the unit is budgeted for some 100 positions and commissioners are cutting 35 of those.
Sheriff Valdez said she’s determined that no current deputies will lose their jobs and she thinks the department can handle the cuts by not filling open positions.
Commissioners said the cuts would save an estimated $2.4 million.