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Sheriff's Dept. budget request up 5%

March 24, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Sheriff's Department has asked for a 5 percent increase in its fiscal year 2010 budget, most of which would go toward increases in salaries and benefits, Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said Tuesday.

The department requested a budget of about $23.3 million for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1. Its budget for fiscal year 2009 is about $22.2 million.

Presenting the request to the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday, Mullendore called it a "bare-bones budget" and commended his staff on keeping operating increases to a minimum. Salary and benefit increases are outside of his control, he said.

The commissioners have not approved the budget request. Generally, the commissioners vote on the proposed budget in June.

The sheriff's department is asking for a $741,020 increase in salaries and benefits, or about 3.3 percent over this year's.

The additional funds would cover staffing for the new central booking facility, new positions added in January at an emergency housing unit at the Washington County Detention Center, the continuation of a crime analyst position after grant funding runs out and other adjustments, budget documents show.

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In addition, the department has asked for a $357,920 increase in its operations budget, or about 1.62 percent more than this year's.

Most of that increase - $266,370 - would go toward rising expenses at the detention center, Mullendore said. There, a faulty water meter has been replaced, resulting in higher readings and drastically higher water and sewer bills, he said. The previous meter gave inaccurately low readings. The budget request calls for $105,730 more for water and sewer expenses over this fiscal year.

In addition, the department is anticipating higher electric and natural gas expenses next year, and the detention center's food service contract is increasing almost 13 percent due to rising food prices, Mullendore said.

The operations increase also includes $75,830 for rising gasoline and insurance costs, including a correction for an underestimation of fleet insurance costs in the previous budget, Mullendore said.

The other $13,370 in increased operating funds is for the central booking facility, he said.

The department's capital outlay budget would go up $13,720, or about .07 percent, he said.

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