Some elderly residents throughout Summit County are waking up to snowy sidewalks and wondering why they are no longer being shoveled.
"We cut the sheriff's budget by $250,000," Summit County Councilmember Claudia McMullin said at the Wednesday Summit County Council work session. "People are seeing the effects. [Sheriff Dave Edmunds] had to cut the whole inmate program, where inmates would go out and provide services, including helping senior citizens shovel walks.
"And there have been a lot of complaints about it. But he had to do what he had to do, because he couldn't cut sheriff deputies."
The Summit County Sheriff's Inmate Work Crew Program, which was tasked, in part, with shoveling snow for senior citizens, has been recently cut to save money and reallocate the staff.
"I've been talking to a lot of folks about it," Edmunds said. "We certainly didn't want to have to do it, but we aren't getting any additional resources. We had to utilize those resources in the court security division."
Edmunds implemented the work crew program about eight years ago to allow inmates who had been convicted of a minor, non-violent offenses to received a small stipend for doing work around the country, such as painting, road maintenance and snow removal.
The Inmate Work Crew Program consisted of two crews of four inmates each who volunteered for the program, and in return for their work, received $6 a day. The program also allowed inmates to learn new skills that could help them obtain employment after leaving.
In a previous interview, Edmunds said he estimates the program saved the county taxpayers hundred of thousands of dollars a year.
Regardless, because of his tight budget with increasing calls for service, Edmunds said some of his programs had to be eliminated in favor of more important duties.
The fingerprint identification verification program was also cut from the Sheriff's Office. The program enabled illegal immigrants to receive driver privilege cards to allow them to drive.
Previously, the Summit County Sheriff's Office was the only location on the Wasatch Back that had the program.
Now, the nearest place to receive a driver privilege card is at the Bureau of Criminal Identification, located at 5400 South 3888 West in Taylorsville.