By STACY MILLBERG - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashtabula County Sheriff William R. Johnson is projecting a $184,000 shortfall in his 2013 budget.
The Sheriff told Ashtabula County commissioners, Tuesday, if the situation isn’t rectified, he will not be able to make payroll through the end of the year.
Johnson said payroll for his department averages $140,000 biweekly. This figure is not factoring in holidays, which will increase the payroll. There are three holidays within the six pay periods left this year.
Johnson said if excess funds in several line items, including equipment and supplies, inmate transport and inmate medical, can be maneuvered around and transferred into the department’s salary line item, it will decrease the shortfall by $104,000.
Johnson said the reason he will be short this year is because of the jail population. The Ashtabula County Jail is averaging between 140 to 160 inmates per month. The county pays for food and medical expenses for the inmates. Johnson said food costs alone average about $25,000 each month.
Johnson said the budget adjustments don’t need to be made right now, but he wanted to let the commissioners know in enough time what the situation was.
“I need to know because I only have six pay periods to make adjustments,” he said.
Commissioner Dan Claypool said he appreciates Johnson letting the board know where he is at in terms of the budget. Claypool suggested Johnson sit down with County Administrator Janet Discher to discuss all the options to balance his budget.
“I personally don’t have a problem with making the transfers,” Claypool said.
Discher said she needed to check to see if she is allowed, by state law, to move the excess funds from the inmate medical line item to the salary line item. She also told Johnson the inmate transport funds are already factored into his general fund so transferring excess funds from there may not be an option either.
Johnson also informed commissioners that he is going to need to replace a number of cars very soon.
“We have about 15 Fords left with a huge amount of miles on them,” he said.
Johnson said he knows all 15 cannot be replaced at once; however, if commissioners plan to replace any this year, if they are ordered by Oct. 15, they will get 2014 vehicles at 2013 prices. Johnson said many of the cars needing replaced have more than 150,000 miles on them.
Commissioners asked Johnson to provide them with pricing on the vehicles and also to get quotes from local dealerships.