Malheur County freezes spending as emergency fund drained

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

The Malheur County Court on Wednesday imposed a hiring freeze and limited other expenses as its contingency fund of nearly a quarter million dollars has been depleted.

By a unanimous vote, the county court approved a resolution recognizing the county’s contingency fund of $212,165 is gone and there is a shortfall in the county’s operating budget.

The contingency account – the county’s emergency fund – was exhausted by snow removal costs ($160,406), sandbags ($4,500) and additional security and medical services incurred since the arrest of Anthony Montwheeler. The costs of Montwheeler continue as he was returned back to a regional hospital for treatment. This requires unbudgeted 24-hour daily security by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office.

Starting today and continuing through June . . .