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Sheriff's Budget Amendment Requests Questioned

by Ashley Murphy

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Commissioner Lisa Stanbery was present at today's Finance Committee meeting to question items she had found on a recent audit. Stanbery said that percentage rates had fluctuated greatly and certain findings were not reported to the commission.

County Finance Director Lynn Burns stated that it was not procedure to have to notify the commission and that one of the three notes had been paid off, in full. Meaning that could have been reasoning behind some of the changes. Burns said that she will look into these items and come back at a later date with the answers.

Several budget amendments were on the agenda, all of which required little to no discussion and were passed unanimously. However, when it came to the Sheriff's Department requests, too many questions were left unanswered.

One such budget amendment came from inmate medical claims. An invoice was received in January 2010 for a visit that occurred in May of 2009. Finance Committee Chair Ed Elkins entertained the idea of possibly drafting a letter to the medical institution requesting a more timely manner in receiving the invoices. Burns stated that it could have been an oversight in the system due to another invoice having the exact same amount, but for a different inmate. After discussion, the committee decided to approve the budget amendment.

The next request from the Sheriff's Department was deferred until a representative from the office could be present to answer questions. The Sheriff's Department was requesting money be taken from their medical insurance line item to cover vehicle maintenance costs for the remainder of the 2009-2010 budget year. Elkins stated that 92% of this department's budget has been used so far. Also, taking money from the medical insurance line would leave them without enough money to pay their remaining insurance payments.

Also deferred were budget amendment requests from the jail, asking to take money from their medical insurance line item to cover utilities, building maintenance and communications for the remainder of the budget year. Doing so would leave enough money to cover the remaining insurance payments from the jail, but enough information was not given to gain approval from the Finance Committee.

Once a representative from the Sheriff's Department is able to personally attend a meeting or a more detailed explanation is given, the deferred requests will be revisited.