As your Sheriff, it has always been my intention to share with you the state of your Sheriff’s Office. Over the years, this has meant sharing both our triumphs and our disappointments with transparency and integrity. In continuing this relationship, I want to take a moment to share this year’s budget proposal with you, so you are informed about how our tax dollars are being spent.
The Sheriff’s Office Fiscal Year 2019/2020 budget was submitted to the Board of County Commissioners on May 31, 2019. A request for an 8% increase over Fiscal Year 18/19 budget was made, bringing it from $70,154,686 to $75,739,732 (Law Enforcement $48,911,622, Courts $3,711,388, and Detention $23,116,702).
It is important to recognize that less than 1% of this increase is for operational and capital expenses. The lion’s share of the increase (7.14%) is allocated to our personnel. It raises the starting salaries of our law enforcement deputies, detention deputies and communications operators by $3,500.00. It includes a 5% pay increase that serves to avoid a pay inequality or “compression” issue within our ranks and incorporates the addition of four (4) law enforcement, two (2) communications, and one (1) court security position to address the growth of our community, as described in our strategic plan.
The pay increases are necessary to be able to recruit and retain qualified individuals committed to serving our community. This is part of our ongoing efforts to remain competitive with the private sector and surrounding law enforcement agencies in a strong economy with a decreasing pool of qualified job candidates. Several factors contribute to the diminishing interest in policing careers nationwide and our community is no exception. Even with the proposed increases, this does not bring our starting pay above that of competing agencies in our neighboring counties and cities.
We continue to look for alternative funding sources and are dedicated to working diligently toward finding cost savings and efficiencies throughout the Office. I pledge to continue to work closely with our Board of County Commissioners and County government partners to provide the highest level of law enforcement and public safety services to our deserving community.