Sheriff-elect Dwayne Carey says the 2005 budget for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department is not much different from previous budgets.
“We have everything in place,” Carey said. “What we have to do is continue the progress the sheriff and the administrative staff have been making over the last 20 years.”
County Auditor June Pitchford said the Sheriff’s and Corrections budget for 2005 has been estimated at $10.12 million. The 2004 budget was $9.43 million.
Carey said although operating costs have increased 2 percent, there has been no increase in the budget for corrections and overtime has been cut $60,000.
Pitchford said there are over-budgeting problems with part of the budget.
“A portion of the overtime appropriations have been unused in previous years, and we are trying to align the budget with expected needs,” Pitchford said.
Budgeting for the cost of housing jail inmates also can be complicated, Jail Administrator Warren Brewer, said.
“Sometimes it takes a month or two to be billed for housing from county jails,” Brewer said. “This creates a lag in the expenditure recorded in the budget.”
The lag makes it difficult to estimate how much to request in the budget.
Northern District County Commissioner Skip Elkin said the cost of housing and other jail expenses has gone down because there are fewer inmates this year.
“The number of inmates is the lowest in a long time,” Elkin said. “This time last year, we were swamped.”
Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre said that the Boone County Jail hit a maximum capacity of 192 inmates in 2004. He said 13 inmates had to be sent out of the county and 21 were sent to Reality House, a term-sentencing program. There are now 179 inmates in the Boone County Jail.
Despite the reduction of some expenses, the cost of inmate health care has increased in the past few years.
“The cost for inmate prescription drugs and health-care costs were just spiraling out of control,” Elkin said.
After reaching a new cooperative agreement with local hospitals, buying medical equipment for testing and changing policies to allow use of more generic drugs, the commission has reduced the cost of inmate health care. Last year, prescription drugs for inmates cost the county $129,916. In the 2005 budget, the sheriff’s department has requested $110,000 for the drugs.
In accordance with previous arrangements under Proposition L, Pitchford said the 2005 budget will finally complete enhanced equipment purchases for deputies.
“With all the purchases finished up, in 2006 we can start our maintenance and replacement schedule to replace old equipment,” Carey said.
Prop L, a one-eighth-cent sales tax approved by the Boone County voters in 2002, accounts for $2.45 million of the budget.