Eleven employees are being laid off in the Yakima County Department of Corrections in another round of budget cuts.
The reductions bring to 99 the total number of layoffs since the end of 2010 when the county lost a contract to house inmates from group of King County cities.
Staffing at the four-story main jail in downtown Yakima will be 154 when the new year begins. Possible retirements may reduce the actual number laid off.
Jail Director Ed Campbell said Monday nine corrections officers, a lieutenant and a chief are being let go to fill a $1.2 million budget cut imposed by county commissioners.
“I believe we are at what I would consider a minimum staffing level,” he said. “As far as being able to deal with operational safety, we are able to do that.”
The jail held 620 inmates on Monday.
The jail operation has gone through four rounds of layoffs in the last two years as revenues, primarily in the form of jail bed rentals, have declined. The jail had revenues in 2010 approaching $35 million and a staff of 253, but that was before the King County cities withdrew some 300 inmates when a seven-year housing agreement expired.
Revenues in 2013 are projected slightly more than $18 million.
Campbell has also reduced contract services for medical care, mental health and food service.
Wayne Johnson, business representative for Teamsters Local 760 of Yakima, which represents three bargaining units at the jail, said officers hope the county can find a way to increase rental revenues.
“The employees are worried about it, too,” he said. “Everyone knows the economy is bad. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that the county can pick up a couple of contracts to alleviate this round and that they can be called back.”
County commissioners today are scheduled to adopt the 2013 jail budget along with a general fund budget to cover day-to-day operation of county departments.
The general fund budget includes $1.6 million in cuts to public safety and law and justice that will be turned over to the jail. In addition, commissioners next week will authorize a $3 million levy shift from the county road fund to the jail to cover three jail bond debt payments.
Jail finance director Forrest Smith said the road levy shift and transfer of funds from the prosecutor, sheriff, defense counsel, clerk and courts will increase the jail budget to $22.9 million. The jail expenditure budget for 2013 is $22.7 million.
• David Lester can be reached at 509-577-7674 or email@example.com.