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Emergency management, sheriff budgets fairly flat

Emergency management, sheriff budgets fairly flat Emergency management, sheriff budgets fairly flat

The Taylor County Sheriff’s department is looking for a status quo budget for the coming year.

As budget review sessions begin this week, members of the county’s law enforcement committee on September 8 reviewed and approved the proposed budgets from the emergency management office and the sheriff’s department.

In emergency management, the county will actually save money as the health department is using grant funds to cover a portion of the wages paid to the emergency management director.

For the sheriff’s department operationally it continued to be a fairly status quo budget.

Sheriff Larry Woebbeking reminded the committee that he chose not to replace a sergeant position when one became vacant and instead kept it as a patrol deputy position in order to reduce costs for the county. The county previously had three sergeants, but now has two and the overall staffing authorization for the department is the same.

Committee member Lorie Floyd noted there were some line items in the budget showing where the full budget amount has not been spent. She questioned what happens to those funds. Floyd also questioned if there was a mechanism in the budget to set aside funds for the replacement of equipment such as radios.

Woebbeking said he uses money left in some areas of the budget to offset higher than anticipated expenses in other areas of the budget. Unlike other departments, the sheriff’s budget lapses at the end of the year which means it reverts to the general county coffers.

County finance director Larry Brandl said the law enforcement budget is too unstable as far as costs to have non lapsing accounts and carryover funds. He said that typically the department ends up with additional support needed to cover shortfalls due to overtime and staffing. The county has also been challenged with the nearcontinual turnover in law enforcement especially among the jail and dispatch staff. “We are always operating short handed and are never out of the training phase,” Woebbeking said.

“I don’t think we have been fully staff in the jail in four to five years,” said chief deputy Corey Dassow. It was noted that they have even had to have road officers cover some jail shifts.

Committee member Ray Soper asked about revenue projections for housing inmates from other counties. Woebbeking said Marathon County has been very stable and that he tried to keep the jail population at around 60 to 65 inmates total. He noted that when it got close to 80 inmates there would be a lot for his staff to handle.

Committee members approved sending the budget to the finance and personnel committee for review as part of the overall budget.

Woebbeking also reported on needing to spend $9,000 to replace the computer that runs the electronic doors in the jail. The units dated from when the jail was built and are over 20 years old. He said he had spoken with Brandl before going ahead and ordering them, noting it is a 10-12 week lead time between when they are ordered and when they arrive.

It was noted that it was an essential item and that without it being replaced, the jail would not be able to function.