Franklin County is investing extra money in the sheriff’s office next year.
County commissioners approved a $29.7 million current expense budget on Monday. They also voted to move $650,000 from the county roads department to the general fund, where most of it will go toward sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s department expects to add 11 full-time positions over the next three years, including a lieutenant and administrative help in 2016, Sheriff Jim Raymond told the Herald.
It is refining its policies and procedures for its accreditation with the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, which requires law enforcement departments to meet nearly 150 standards.
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The sheriff’s office also is working on expanding an electronic legal library for inmates, as well as equipment upgrades, Raymond said.
The office already has to fill three or four vacant positions, Raymond said. And the department paid about $160,000 in overtime to workers in 2015.
“Most of that is having people come in and work on their days off to fill the (staffing) gap,” Raymond said.
Most of that ($160,000 in overtime) is having people come in and work on their days off to fill the (staffing) gap.
Sheriff Jim Raymond, Franklin County
The state is requiring the county to meet law enforcement standards, but doesn’t provide enough money for it, commission Chairman Brad Peck said.
“We need funding for our roads, but we also find ourselves without a sustainability model — revenues are limited and the costs are outside of our control,” he said. “It’s a challenging budget. This is not desirable, but necessary.”
Taking money from roads is not expected to change any planned road projects, Commissioner Rick Miller told the Herald. It could prevent the county from paving some roads, but Miller said the county already has not been able to afford that recently.
“Generally, it doesn’t have as much (impact) as you’d think,” he said.
Moving money from the road budget allows the county to avoid using more of its $2.3 million reserve fund, Miller said.
“It’s going to be a lean year for us,” he said.
It’s going to be a lean year for us.
Commissioner Rick Miller, Franklin County
The county has increased its budgeted sales tax revenue by 11 percent, to $3.7 million for 2016, which will add $375,500 to the budget. It also is expecting property tax revenue to rise by $216,223, or 2.8 percent.
The county is taking the 1-percent property tax levy amount increase allowed by state law, giving it about $79,000.
Not everyone was happy with the changes. Clerk Mike Killian sent an email to commissioners Monday afternoon expressing his frustration that his employees have not had a cost-of-living increase for years. He said the last time they received such a raise was 2006, and two judge positions have been added and a third made full-time since then, increasing employee workloads.
“I have lost two employees in the last three weeks due to Franklin County not valuing their employees,” he said.
I have lost two employees in the last three weeks due to Franklin County not valuing their employees.
Clerk Mike Killian, Franklin County
Killian had asked commissioners to make one of his part-time employees full-time and add another full-time worker, he said. The request was denied, and he now he worries what will happen in 2017 now that the extra road money has been used.
“Other departments might have to cut their budgets and lay people off to make sure the sheriff gets what he wants,” he told the Herald.