PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – After Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg claimed county leaders have misused tax dollars in a letter to the public, the county chair and commissioners called the accusation “disturbing.”

County commissioners have said they are cutting budgets across county agencies to pay for increased administrative costs, but Brandenburg said it’s to help pay for the new courthouse.

“We’re trying to have points of clarification from a very damaging and untruthful letter that the sheriff put out,” said Commissioner Tootie Smith during a budget meeting on Monday.

To make up for a $5 million budget cut for the sheriff’s office from the county’s General Fund, county commissioners want to use money from a levy passed in 2021.

But Brandenburg says that’s not how the levy funds are meant to be used.

“These taxpayers already pay for the sheriff’s office to have their base services, they pay for me and the undersheriff with their taxes,” Brandenburg said. “We’re General Fund funded, and because they voted yes for 36 positions of additional deputies that they’re paying for – that the county’s not paying for – they get the gift of being charged again.”

In a letter to the public, Brandenburg said she proposed cutting 34 positions — most of which she said are already vacant.

However, she said the proposal was rejected and the county administrator took over the budget process for her $146 million budget.

Commissioners will hear from the public in a meeting set for 6 p.m. Tuesday night.

Stay with KOIN 6 for continuing coverage.