I am writing in response to the article, “Budget situation bothers sheriff” run on the front page of the FCN on Sunday, Feb. 12. Just going by the numbers stated by Sheriff Paxton, I am deeply concerned over the department’s budget.
According to the article, in 2011, the sheriff’s budget had $13.3M allocated for vital IT, GIS, etc. support, leaving him with only $22.8M in discretionary funds.
Doing the math shows the department’s total budget was $36.6M in 2011. The 2012 budget allocates $12.8M of the total $37.5M budget leaving a measly $24.7M in discretionary funds, while the allocated funds went down by 4 percent.
Shockingly, the overall budget increased 4 percent while the discretionary portion increased a whopping 8 percent or $1.9M. This doesn’t make sense.
According to the quote by David Gruen, the county’s finance director, the amount allocated for IT, GIS, etc. is proportional to the number of people, the number of vehicles, the number of computers and so on.
So, if the sheriff’s department is spending less on these overhead expenses, then it should follow that he has fewer people, vehicles, computers, etc. If that were true, then the overall budget should also go down. Why doesn’t this add up? We, the citizens, deserve to see the sheriff’s books. The sheriff should open them up so we can make sense of the budget.