National issues hit Douglas County budget
March 30, 2018
Two national issues will affect the Douglas County Sheriff's Office budget over the next year.
Undersheriff Paul Howell told commissioners on Monday, March 26, that the school district is planning for a third school resource officer.
The district funds the two school resource officers at about 50 percent now. Should the school board approve a third officer, Howell said it would be toward the end of the year before someone could be hired.
The other issue is the conflict between the Department of Justice and the state of California over sanctuary cities.
Both the multi-county gang and drug task forces are subsidized by federal grants.
"The Department of Justice grants are being held back right now because of the feud between them and the sanctuary cities.
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Howell said he wanted it made clear that Douglas County provides information to the Department of Justice on illegal immigrants.
The sheriff's office has a $16.5 million annual budget, which consists of 34 percent of the $50 million general fund. It is by far the largest budget. The sheriff's office employs 123 people, of whom 107 are sworn officers.
County commissioners started a four-day tentative budget process on Monday.
The county is anticipating increases in intergovernmental revenues and property taxes for the year.
The tentative budget is at $157.9 million, down from $172 million from the 2017-18 adopted budget.
According to the county budget manager Julie Andress, the beginning fund balance is down $12.9 million.
She said that would be adjusted after the county completes and audits the current year budget.
"As we begin the 2018-19, we take our fund balance at that time, and that becomes the beginning fund balance," Andress said. "We still have six months of year remaining."
Monday's efforts were an overview of the budget, which prompted comments from the county commissioners.
"I would like to see what the money is we have control of that we can actually move here or there," Commissioner Dave Nelson said. "Having them mixed together makes it very difficult to make any decision as a commissioner."
Sheriff Ron Pierini pointed out that there were some things that the sheriff's office doesn't have any control over some of its expenditures.
"I think about the Washoe Crime Lab," he said. "There's no way we could afford a lab of our own."