FRONT ROYAL – Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler told the Board of Supervisors that his office “exhausted every ounce of energy, resource and minute available” compiling this year’s budget request.
Butler said during the supervisors’ recent budget work session that the department’s $4.6 million request was well thought out and the office believes in “spending frugally but wisely.”
The office, he said, has several needs.
For example, Butler said some service weapons are “really worn and outdated,” citing Vietnam War-era M16s and old tasers.
“We’ve run into a lot of obstacles all the way across the board that could not be seen until you’re actually in office to see,” he said. “We believe a lot of that could have been from the recent past four years of budget cuts.”
Now, he said the office is examining different options to get the “best bang for our buck” without jeopardizing officers.
Butler said the office is pursuing all avenues to get good deals, such as a $150,000 grant for a communications system upgrade and a grant that will pay for half of the department’s new bulletproof vests.
Regarding needed communications upgrades, Maj. Jeff Driskill noted that the Sheriff’s Office is housed in a “beautiful building” but the communications infrastructure is just as old as the building and “at the end of its life.” While there are several needs, he said the office will “limp along” where possible such as keeping the department’s phone system.
“All these infrastructure improvements are absolutely necessary. It’s the most important expenses we have,” he said.
Driskill added that department will continue vigorously pursuing a wide variety of grants.
"One thing we don't want to miss is opportunity," he said.
Butler said it is a “better business model” for the office to use the same cars across the board and “standardize our fleet.” He explained that this will provide cheaper and easier options when ordering parts or getting repairs.
He added that Dodge Chargers are not the best vehicle for the county’s roads and perhaps Dodge Durangos would be better.
Additionally, Butler said the office has about five vehicles that “are just shot.” While he wants five new vehicles, he said the proposed budget includes three that are needed.
He added that the department will not get rid of any car just because of high mileage and “if I can put lipstick on it, we will.”
Supervisors Chairman Walter Mabe said it seems like the office has done “a lot of positive things” and “the board appreciates that.”