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Layoffs likely without help, sheriff says
As many as 88 deputies could be laid off by July
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Forsyth County News
Several Forsyth County department heads attended Tuesday’s 2011 budget meeting, but only Sheriff Ted Paxton addressed his requests for next year — and the agency’s bleak outlook this year.

“We are quarter of a million dollars in the hole with absolutely no operating capital,” Paxton said. “To be able to be within our budget by July 1, it would precipitate us having to lay off 88 deputies out of 289.”

A $3 million cut in 2010, combined with an increase in service charges, has left the sheriff’s office grappling with less than it needs this year, Paxton said.

“Revenues are down and accounting adjustments had to be made,” said Commissioner Patrick Bell of the 2010 budget. “It hit everyone across the board.”

To stay afloat, Paxton said his agency has been shuffling money from one fund to another, though many have become depleted.

He asked the commission to consider helping the office continue to operate this year.

Bell countered that the money simply isn’t there.

Based on Paxton’s nearly 10 years as sheriff, Bell said later he was optimistic the lawman would figure something out.

“I have full faith in his ability as a constitutional officer that he’ll be able to live in the budget that he agreed to,” Bell said.

While the commission approves the sheriff’s budget each year, Bell said the office requests and controls that spending.

To avoid a similar situation next year, the sheriff’s office is seeking an 18 percent increase from the 2010 budget’s approved amount of $32.7

For 2011, the sheriff’s office has requested about $38.7 million, which does not include six positions that have been deferred for a few years, at a cost of about $333,000.

The sheriff also asked that 24 vehicles be replaced, noting that none have been budgeted for in the last three years.

“It’s going to be a tricky situation,” he said, “because the longer we put that off, we’re going to reach a point where ... we need to replace the entire fleet.”