Supervisors Set Sheriff's Budget To Include New Officers

The sheriff's budget is the biggest in the county. Wednesday, the supervisors settled on more than $16 million for the sheriff to run his entire department.

However, to generate $750,000 to pay for 25 new jail officers, the supervisors recommend that the sheriff cut more than $230,000 from car leases and more than half a million from his administration.

The supervisors are trying to help the sheriff satisfy federal jail standards that require one officer for every five prisoners. Right now, with 80 officers on duty in the jail, there is one for every 15 inmates.

After deciding on cutting money from the car leases, the supervisors decided administration was the only other area to trim to pay for the jailers.

"We can beat this thing until we're blue in the face and I say we take the difference out in law enforcement administration. We won't take it out of patrol but we will take it from administration. I don't know what else to say or do," says District 3 Supervisor Marlin Ladner.

District 4 Supervisor William Martin says, "We had to do what we had to do today. It had to be done and we're gonna be able to get the corrections officers that we need at the jail to make sure people are safe out there, and at the same time avoid cutting any type of patrol. Everybody's gonna have to live within their budget."

Sheriff George Payne was not at the budget session. He sent a message to the supervisors that he was in a meeting at the jail. The supervisors say they're open to suggestions from the sheriff if he wants to make changes to the budget. Payne didn't comment on the supervisors' action, saying he hadn't seen the budget.