At the Sheriff’s Office final budget hearing in Superior on Friday, Aug. 16, county officials decided the only area they could make financial cuts were in overtime.
Mineral County financial officer Jessica Connolly estimated that the county spent $50,000 in overtime last fiscal year, and she thinks it could be cut to $10,000.
For dispatch alone, the county had $14,000 budgeted and spent $30,000 for a fully budgeted staff with people who wanted to work overtime.
The county recently hired an additional dispatcher and two new deputies which should decrease overtime hours, but employees an average of 62 hours a month of overtime.
Sheriff Mike Boone argues that the Sheriff’s Office is picking up everything the former jail administer and dispatcher Roni Phillips did.
“We spend more time in here than we do out there,” Boone said.
Boone says it’s also difficult to schedule deputy shifts without occasional overtime due to the job’s unpredictability.
With the inoperable jail which closed in January, deputies must travel to Sanders County and other nearby counties to transport inmates.
“Transport’s killing us on our budget,” Boone said.
Boone says the transports often don’t follow a scheduled shift which results in deputy overtime.
With a full staff, the sheriff’s department’s employees estimate four hours of overtime a week. Connolly argues if the county is fully staffed, then employees do not need overtime.
The public safety budget lies at negative $17,000 which was also due to the detention center and a juvenile inmate which drained the budget $7,000.
At the hearing, Connolly could not find any other areas to cut the budget for the 2020 fiscal year.
“I don’t see a bunch of stuff in the budget to cut,” Connolly said.