Expenses, budget proposal detailed

The county’s more than $55.7 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year was discussed during recent meetings of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors.

Lock Boyce, chairman and of the Mayo River District, said he was approached with concerns about the amount of the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office budget.

“The sheriff’s office is a constitutional office. We can’t really dispute what he (Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith) gets or how he spends that money,” Boyce said.

The nearly $5.5 million budget is one-tenth of the county’s total budget, according to Smith, who added about half of the total amount is reimbursed by the state.

For example, the State Compensation Board will reimburse more than $2.2 million of the nearly $2.5 million salaries in law enforcement and jail operations, documents show.

Smith also noted his budget represents level funding overall for capital items.

“The last substantial increase in my budget was several years ago when school resource officers (SROs) were added after the Sandy Hook tragedy” in 2012, Smith said.

However, the costs of inmate sustenance – which includes medical care – increase each year, he said.

“My biggest expense is inmate medical care and every year, there’s a significant increase in that cost,” Smith said.

The state also contributes per diem funds to help care for the average of 132 inmates housed in the Patrick County Jail at any given time, Smith said. Depending on whether an inmate is state responsible (those who are waiting transfer to a state prison) or a local inmate, the per diem amount ranges from $4 per inmate per day to $12 per inmate per day.

An estimated $30,000 will be transferred from the Inmate Commissary Fund to help offset miscellaneous expenses related to inmate care, and $110,000 from the Inmate Medical Fund will be used to help offset inmate medical expenses.

Additionally, the sheriff’s office also receives several grants and/or other reimbursements from other agencies to help offset expenses.

In addition to jail operations, the proposal also includes law enforcement, courtroom security, county paid deputies, E-911 dispatch and animal control.

By category, the proposed $2,498,579 law enforcement budget represents a $92,648 increase, or 3.65 percent, over the current fiscal year’s budget, documents show.

Smith said the increase is due to a small state raise and the additional cost of benefits that went into effect during the second half of the current fiscal year. State funds are tapped to pay for the increase, he added.

Smith’s proposed budget also includes $671,801 for the county’s E911 Dispatch Center and a total of $125,632 for courtroom security. The latter includes a $1,700 mandatory increase for health insurance, Smith said. Salaries remained unchanged from the current budget cycle, and any unspent balance is transferred back into the county’s general fund at the end of the fiscal year.

While the state pays the salaries and benefits for the majority for about 80 percent of law enforcement officers – including Smith, the locality pays for nine others. Smith’s proposed budget includes $485,818 for salaries and benefits of deputies paid by the county. That amount represents level funding from the current fiscal year.

The $60,796 proposed budget for animal control represents a decrease of $8,359, or 12.9 percent, over the current budget cycle, documents show.

In other matters, the supervisors agreed to provide level funding for outside organizations, unless a decrease was requested. In those cases, the lower amount would be approved.

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