Ashtabula County Commissioner wrapped up their 2014 budget work sessions Thursday afternoon, but not before the sheriff asked for a hefty chunk of change.
Sheriff William R. Johnson is requesting more than $400,000 in his budget than what he is on target to spend for this year. Johnson said the overall operation depends on the money. The sheriff is requesting $6 million for 2014.
So far this year, his department has spent about $5.4 million.
“You can give me $5 million and I can tell you right now we’re going to be back asking for more,” he said.
Johnson challenged commissioners to provide him with one year that he spent his budget frivolously.
“This is my 22nd budget,” he said. “Give me one year where I’ve abused it.”
The sheriff is asking for additional money for salaries as well as equipment for new vehicles.
Johnson said the additional money is requested in the salary line item; however, it is extra money for operational expenses as a whole.
Johnson said the total figure for what he anticipates to spend next year is going to be really close to $5.9 million.
“The $5.9 million is giving me the breathing room I think I need unless there is a big disaster in the county,” he said. “If we do the same thing we did this year, I’m going to be coming back asking for a huge chunk of money to finish out the year.”
There was some confusion as to why so much extra money was needed and it was agreed another meeting would be scheduled to discuss the Sheriff’s budget prior to the appropriations being made.
Commissioners and budget committee members also heard requests from Ashtabula County Treasurer Dawn Cragon and Ashtabula County Auditor Roger Corlett.
Commissioner Joe Moroski said the work sessions were just the listening component of the budget process.
“Now comes the time when we need to sit and crunch numbers,” he said.
The county will start the new year with a temporary budget as it did this year and permanent appropriations will be approved sometime around February, Moroski said.
Corlett said his office is working on the 2014 certificate now and hope to have it finished up by next week.