Budget limits sheriff, security

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County’s next budget likely won’t include money the sheriff says is needed for courthouse security.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter asked for $232,210 to cover part-time salaries for deputies assigned to the local court facilities. That would represent an increase of $40,719 over the $191,491 in the current budget. The money would cover the salaries of four additional deputies to provide court security.

County Administrator Mary Beth Price has recommended in her proposed fiscal 2016 budget that the sheriff receive only $5,000 more for part-time salaries.

Carter appeared before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday at a work session on the proposed budget. The sheriff fielded questions by the board about his requests, including those not included in Price’s budget, though most of the discussion focused on the costs to design and build a new headquarters with money the office receives from its work with federal law enforcement agencies.

Carter has not renewed his request for the part-time salary money nor did the board discuss the matter.

In his request for funding of deputies at the courts, the sheriff points out that he has, in the past five budget cycles, voiced concerns about security at the facility holding the General District Court, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

“At the time of this FY16 submission, this issue has not yet been resolved,” Carter said. “The county has failed to provide the funding to allow me to hire the adequate number of personnel. This assertion was validated with a third party evaluation of staffing through the Matrix study.”

The sheriff lost state funding for some deputies when the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail opened last summer.

Price’s budget includes $4.43 million for law enforcement — the bulk of the sheriff’s spending — that does not cover animal control, the jail or juvenile probation. That represents a 3.22-percent increase over Carter’s current budget of $4.29 million. But the proposed amount falls short of the $4.73 million Carter requested — a 10 percent increase.

Carter asked for an increase in funds to pay for overtime from $150,710 to $166,162. Price’s budget recommends no increase. The proposed budget does include $108,126 for part-time salaries as the sheriff requested in law enforcement, outside of the courts, representing an increase of $26,475.

Carter submitted with his budget request a letter to Price explaining his agency’s needs. During Carter’s 11 years as sheriff, the county engaged in three independent studies to review different aspects of his agency — space needs in 2003-2004, salary disparity in 2006-2007 and staffing in 2012.

“To date, none of the recommendations of any of these studies have been addressed by the county,” Carter states in his memo. “I hope at some point they will be addressed.”

The sheriff adds that a request from the Sheriff’s Office remains open to discuss three issues addressed by the studies.

“As a matter of fact, there are sufficient funds to provide the space outlined in the CIP with no cost to the taxpayers of our county,” Carter states.

The sheriff points out that his office returned any money saved by the agency to the county and it pursued other funding sources to cover some costs.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com