Claremore Daily Progress

Government

June 13, 2013

County jail trust fund short $96K

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Overall, the trust stayed under the approved 2012 budget of approximately $2.5 million and the shortfall was a carryover of an existing shortfall from 2011, according to jail administration. 
Last year, not only was there a budget shortfall, but the commissioners approved the use of emergency funds leaving no extra money, according to Helm.
“If we took $150,000 that was in reserves to cover shortfall last year, it is my understanding this is how it has been done for years. This budget procedure has continued on,” Thacker said. “Is this a spending problem or a budget problem?”
“We are talking about two separate issues — how we are going to fund the shortfall and what will be done for next years budget,” Commissioner Dan DeLozier said.
The current shortfall, if not covered by the commissioners, would have directly effected employees as the $96,000 is needed to meet June’s payroll, according to jail administration.
Trust member Mayor Cheryl Charles of Inola spoke candidly about the issue.
She made a motion to require the funds to be repaid next fiscal year and suggested the board only approve the budget according to funds that were spent this year.
Without an increase in funds, this will require jail administration to operate at or below current levels despite any increase in expenses.
“If you want a grace period you will have to learn to live without an employee,” Charles said.  Thacker echoed Charles’ statement saying, when there is a shortfall in any business employees are the first to be cut.
He questioned the necessity of the number of jail supervisors currently on staff.
The number of jailors are required by state statute determined by the number of inmates being housed and the number of supervisors is limited to three covering various shifts, according to jail administration.
“We have been in a downfall economy,” DeLozier said.
Everyone has been affected but we are on the way back up, he added.
The trust authority will be meeting at 9 a.m. on June 20 to discuss the 2013-14 budget in which jail administrators are requesting approximately $3 million in funding a $500,000 increase from last year’s expenses.

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