The budget submitted by the Sheriff this year was a bloated mess.
The county commissioners administer the county budget. The county budget accounts for only about 27 percent of your property tax bill; the remainder comes from highway, fire and school taxes. Of that 27 percent, the sheriff’s budget makes up the largest portion.
After attending and viewing hours of Sheriff’s budget meetings this spring, it is clear to me that the process can be easily improved. The term “that is not good business” was tossed around at these meetings. For the past 26 years, I have been an actual business owner; I know what constitutes “good business”, this is not it. For example:
- $10,000.00 setup fee so dispatchers can log into a website to find the closest automatic external defibrillator to an incident. At first glance this sounds like a good idea. However, the provider of this service is so new, their FREE app only showed about 10 AEDs in the entire county. The app did not even show an AED at the hospital.
- Requesting 37 patrol vehicles while admitting “that’s not a realistic request”. (1)
- A flippant comment made by the Sheriff about how he has circumvented past commissioners’ requests for a decrease in spending by cutting the fuel budget, stating “you are going to pay the bill anyway”. (2)
From purchasing radio equipment to inmate medical care, negotiating the best price for goods and services takes considerable skill and effort. Although very noble, unfortunately a lifelong career in public service does not prepare someone for the realities of business negotiation. I am a numbers person; I will bring my years of successful business experience to the Sheriff’s office in order to get the absolute best value for your money.
A proven method of reducing the budget is to make use of volunteers. The current leadership and command staff of the KCSO has allowed the reserve deputy program to fail. Reserve deputies and other volunteers are vital resources to law-enforcement, while the cost to the county is minimal. Kootenai County, our home, is full of people that possess a desire to serve others. People want to volunteer with organizations in which they believe, please help me make KCSO one of those places.
The Sheriff’s office needs to get serious about its budget. As of 7/13/2019 Jail overtime alone was a staggering $635,036.19, nearly 4 times what it was projected to be by this time of year. (3)
Kootenai County has a population of about 156,000 and an area of 1316 sq. miles; within that area are 18 lakes, 56 miles of river and about 350,000 acres of public land. The deputies currently on patrol are stretched too thin.
In order for the county commissioners to approve a staffing increase, the Sheriff must submit a budget that is sound, justified and already trimmed. As Kootenai County Sheriff, I will submit an accurate budget. I will work with our commissioners, build rapport and develop mutual trust and respect. Spending your hard-earned money is not something I will take lightly. I will ensure that your property tax dollars are spent wisely and without waste.