Sheriff Would Like Special Reserve Fund Created - Brevard NC

 


By the end of this fiscal year on June 30, Sheriff David Mahoney estimates roughly $2.6 million in revenues will have been generated from housing inmates from other counties, from commissary and phone funds, and other revenue streams since the Transylvania Public Safety Complex opened in 2009.

Mahoney would like his office to get a “fair share” of this money that is generated each year to be placed in a special reserve fund for his office’s use.

Mahoney’s proposal (see below) was discussed during the Board of Commissioners’ workshop on County Manager Jaime Laughter’s proposed $48.4 million county budget.

Mahoney told commissioners it was about “engaging in a conversation,” but noted that last year he was under the impression commissioners supported his proposal.

He found out later in the year, however, after trying to setup an account that it wasn’t supported.

Mahoney said that as one of the larger county departments during each year they find there are “high dollar pieces of equipment” they need. The funds, he said, could also be used with recruitment and retention, with which law enforcement are facing challenges.


One option, Mahoney suggested, would be to provide financial help to recruits seeking bachelor’s degrees or other higher education opportunities.

This would be good for the recruits and the community at large, he said.

Mahoney said he also had concerns about vehicles for his department. He requested 10 in the budget, but County Manager Jaime Laughter recommended funding five.

Mahoney also requested a tactical rescue vehicle ($341,763), which he said, among other reasons, is a safety issue for his officers when responding to certain situations.

“I know several folks who are alive today because they had that piece of safety equipment,” he said.

Last year, Mahoney’s department made four requests to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office for its tactical rescue vehicle but was only provided it on two occasions.

Mahoney described one occasion when 15 local SWAT team officers had to respond to a call in the back of a pick-up.

Inmates

Last year, on average, the county jail had 81 inmates a day, including about half who came from other counties.

The county charges $40 a day per inmate from other counties and it costs about $20 a day per inmate to house and feed them and pay for staffing.

Mahoney said he has the same number of staff manning the jail as when it opened and was handling between 35 and 40 inmates a day. The staff number, he said, would remain the same even if the other counties stopped sending their inmates.

His office expects to lose about six inmates from McDowell County, which is expanding its own jail. Partly to compensate this loss, Mahoney is talking to the U.S. Marshal’s office to house federal prisoners.

Mahoney said he’s “pretty proud” of his department’s efforts in getting other counties’ inmates, who, he described, as ones those counties “don’t want to watch.”

The Transylvania County jail was constructed so it could take prisoners from other counties and to handle future growth.

Commissioner Page Lemel said she doesn’t want to penalize Mahoney’s office for “going above and beyond” but it was important that the budget costs were being covered.

Mahoney said he’d just want a percentage of the net — the amount remaining after expenses are paid.

Commission Chairman Mike Hawkins said he liked the idea of “encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurial efforts,” but the “conversation” needs to include all departments and not just the Sheriff’s Office.


Commissioner Jason Chappell agreed discussions needed to be held on the proposal, saying he also needed to see the “net numbers” and what it could mean for other departments.

He said he liked Mahoney’s suggestion that the money be used for officer education.

Mahoney embraced more conversations being held but noted this was the third year the proposal has been mentioned and he planned to hold commissioners’ “feet to the fire.”

The eventual commissioner consensus was to go with the Sheriff’s Office’s budget recommended by Laughter but hold further talks.

Information On Proposal

County Manager Jaime Laughter provided the following information, which includes Sheriff David Mahoney’s proposal to create a special reserve fund.

In Laughter’s recommended 2016/17 fiscal year budget for the Sheriff’s Office, revenues for jail phone and commissary, minus expenses, would go into a reserve fund for the Sheriff’s Office.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Commissioners would determine parameters and funding procedures for the fund.

The projected net amount for the upcoming fiscal year is $25,560.

This would make the Sheriff’s Office budget 15.08 percent of the total proposed county budget, which amounts to $48.4 million.

For the 2016/17 fiscal year, total revenues from the Sheriff’s Office comprise 13 percent of the budgeted expenditures for that department only.

The remainder is from general fund dollars.

Mahoney is requesting:

•revenues for all jail phone, commissary and court jail fee expenses;

•40 percent of revenues for state misdemeanant program and jail fees from other counties;

•no subtraction of expenses related to those services; and

•sheriff would have sole discretion over funds.

For the 2016/17 fiscal year, the projected net amount would be $137,090. This would make the Sheriff’s Office budget 15.32 percent of the total budget.

Mahoney also proposes going back to the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years for revenue.

During the 2015/16 fiscal year, the Sheriff’s Office brought in additional revenue over budget of $352,114.21. However, the office also spent $425,414.88 more than budgeted in the same year.

Under the proposal, the estimated funding for the 2015 fiscal year was $268,628, requiring a transfer from fund balance and raising the Sheriff’s Office budget for that year from 15.13 percent of the total budget to 15.62 percent.

For the current 2016/17 fiscal year, which ends June 30, the Sheriff’s Office is projected to bring in additional revenue over budget of $264,183.

Expenditures are currently expected to come in under budget by $63,383.

The proposal for this current fiscal year would include estimated funding at $249,902, requiring a transfer from fund balance and raising the Sheriff’s Office budget from 15.08 percent of the total budget to 15.52 percent.

The combined financial impact of the proposal for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years would be $518,530 from fund balance.

 
 

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