The Seneca County Sheriff Office has been able to keep its budget cool in recent years because of ICE. The department's piece of ICE has been getting smaller this year, however, and the budget is heating up.
Seneca County Sheriff Tom Steyer met Thursday with the Seneca County Board of Commissioners. Steyer asked the board for more money to buy food for jail inmates and pay for a few repairs to equipment. The discussion turned to department payroll and projected income from the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) program.
The jail has been able to supplement department income by housing immigration detainees and receiving pay from the federal government for housing the detainees. The payments are based on the daily number of detainees housed. Adding the ICE detainees provided a way to lower the average daily cost for all inmates in the jail and keep the burden on the county's general fund lower, Steyer said.
Fewer ICE detainees have been sent to Seneca County recently, Steyer said. The sheriff's budget could melt down unless changes are made soon, according to the commissioners.
Steyer said the jail spent about $400,000 for food during 2008. He said the jail began 2009 with about $200,000 in the same budget line. Less than $50,000 is left, so Steyer asked the commissioners for $150,000 more food money.
"Will that get you through to the end of the year?" Commissioner Mike Bridinger asked.
"Probably not," Steyer answered.
Commissioner Ben Nutter said the sheriff's office already has spent about 59 percent of what was budgeted for payroll this year. In financial terms, the department has overspent in payroll more than $200,000 through the first half of the year.
"Proceeding like we're proceeding now isn't going to work," Nutter said.
Nutter said the department likely had only two options: lay off employees and cut expenses or increase revenues to the jail. Steyer said he believed ICE revenue during the remainder of the year could push income estimates for the jail upward and help close the budget gap.
Steyer said the jail was trying to get more ICE detainees, but 2010 could see the end of the ICE program in the county.
"2010 is going to be a problem," Steyer said.
The sheriff said he was scheduled to meet with labor representatives next week.
Nutter told Steyer he should not wait until November to make adjustments to spending. If no changes are made before November, even deeper budget cuts could be required with dramatic layoffs, Nutter said.
In another matter, the board met with Emergency Medical Services Director Ken Majors to discuss the addition of secure storage area in the Safety Building at the Seneca County Fairgrounds. County maintenance personnel are to complete the work as they have time. The total cost is expected to be about $6,000, according to County Administrator Stacy Wilson.
The board opened two bids for Issue 2, Round 23 road work. M & B Asphalt of Old Fort submitted the lowest bid of $910.883. Gerken Paving of Napoleon bid $940,596. The engineer's estimate was $1.1 million.
Franklin Conaway of the Seneca County Courthouse and Downtown Development Group was scheduled to meet with the board, but rescheduled for next week.
The board approved resolutions for the following:
* To sign a satisfaction of mortgage for Margaret F. Esquivel for the satisfaction of a loan with the commissioners through the Community Housing Improvement Program.
* Setting 10:30 a.m. July 20 to receive proposals for the Honeywell EBI Automation System and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for the county jail.
* Appointing Regional Planning Director Ann Bishop as the primary point of contact for the Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance program E-grants authorization and County Administrator Stacy Wilson as the secondary point of contact for the same program, and authorizing Ben Nutter, as president of the board of commissioners, to sign any documents regarding the UHMA on behalf of the county.
* Authorizing the board of commissioners on behalf of the Seneca County Opportunity Center to enter into an agreement with Power City International.
* Appointing members to the Community Corrections Board.
* To enter into an amendment with Terra Community College to provide Northcoast Regional One-Stop System on behalf of the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services.
* Creating the Bascom Sewer District.
The board approved the following financial issues:
* Supplemental appropriations totaling $43,000 to the Workforce Investment Act fund for supplies and contract services.
* Supplemental appropriations totaling $4,279 to the Community Development Block Grant fund for salaries, supplies, travel, advertising, Medicare and Public Employees Retirement.
* A supplemental appropriation of $500 to the Victim Advocate Program Court Costs & Miscellaneous fund for other expenses.
* A supplemental appropriation of $2,500 to the Victims of Crime Act Expansion Grant fund for supplies.
* Appropriation adjustments totaling $219 to the Issue 2/CDBG Water and Sewer Grant fund from travel and workers compensation to salaries, Medicare and PERS.
* A supplemental appropriation of $90,000 to the courthouse project fund for transfers out.
* A fund transfer of $90,000 to the general fund from the courthouse project fund.
* A supplemental appropriation of $90,000 to the general fund for equipment.
* Supplemental appropriations totaling about $110,000 for the sheiriff's office.