The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has asked commissioners to approve a proposed $14 million budget that includes pay raises for union employees, plus increased overtime and equipment supply funds.
The proposed budget is about a 9 percent increase from last year when the sheriff’s office received more than $12.9 million.
Sheriff Gene Kelly said the funding is needed to ensure staffing levels at the county jail and to maintain the safety of area residents as costs for service and arrests are up five percent.
“It’s a matter of public safety,” Kelly said. “Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their community. They want to know that when they call 911, someone is going to respond.”
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has 171 employees with salaries that are expected to increase 8.3 percent and total more than $8.6 million in 2014.
The department’s budget accounts for about one-third of the county’s $36 million general fund budget, said County Administrator Nathan Kennedy.
Kennedy said he plans to meet with Kelly to further review the request.
“I would like to have more time to comprehend his large, complex budget,” Kennedy said.
The budget includes 2 percent pay raises for union employees and also includes step increases for about 50 employees, Kelly said.
In addition, Kelly has asked commissioners to allow the department to budget $590,000 for overtime, up from the $334,000 the county approved last year.
“Overtime is just a daily fact of life. Last year we budgeted $12,000 per pay in overtime, and we’ve had some pays here with $37,000 in overtime … Every day there’s overtime,” Kelly said.
Budget Director Pam Underwood said the department has averaged about $22,000 to $23,000 in overtime per pay period and have already spent about $560,000 this year for overtime costs.
Kelly also anticipates the department will pay more than $164,800 for sick time and comp time based on union contracts.
The budget for road supplies — such as car parts, gas, oil, and other costs to maintain the sheriff’s fleet — is expected to increase 19.4 percent to $370,000, Kelly said.
But he said the biggest costs are payroll, union contract obligations, retirement payouts and overtime costs.
“When people are off, there are minimum numbers that we have to have to maintain the jail. There are minimum numbers we need to man the streets,” Kelly said.
Kelly said it’s critical that commissioners approve the proposed budget.
“We are the largest piece of the general fund budget, and the costs of criminal justice continues to grow,” Kelly said. “We do everything, every day that we can to cut our overtime … I don’t know where else we can cut our services.”
The Springfield News-Sun knows you want to hold public officials accountable for government spending. Our recent stories have included in-depth coverage of Springfield’s 2014 budget plan and how that would affect parks and city services.