• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

Commission cuts budget proposed by Shawnee County Sheriff Brian Hill

ByChad J. Johnson

Aug 9, 2022

Shawnee County Sheriff Brian Hill has historically returned remaining money from his budget to the county at the end of the year, with the most recent return totaling $416,000.

County Commissioner Kevin Cook took notice before introducing a motion at Monday’s commission meeting to cut Hill’s requested budget for 2023 by $200,000 and add it to the contingency fund instead. County.

Hill appears to be a good steward of taxpayers’ money, Cook said, and he didn’t want to send a signal that the commissioners weren’t pro-enforcement.

However, he suggested that if the sheriff’s office brings in money year after year, the commissioners should adjust the budget accordingly.

Commissioners Aaron Mays and Bill Riphahn joined Cook in voting to pass his motion to reduce Hill’s office’s 2023 draft budget from $22,454,505 to $22,254,505 and increase the amount of the county’s budget for contingencies of $800,000 to $1 million.

Sheriff says cut won’t affect services

Hill told the Capital-Journal on Tuesday morning that even with Monday’s budget cut, there should be no impact on operational services.

He said he has a good working relationship with county commissioners, who understand the resources needed to run a law enforcement agency.

“We continue to improve institutional efficiencies and processes which should result in increased public safety, while continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer funds,” Hill said.

He said his office’s practice of returning taxpayer funds happens from year to year and depends on a number of variables.

“The budget is generally established as a projection of total fixed expenses, which takes into consideration the fixed costs of running the agency, the projected variable costs of running the agency, as well as a historical overview of operational expenses that may vary from year to year,” he said. “In years where spending is lower than expected, those funds are returned to the county.”

‘Preliminary budget’ craft committee

The sheriff’s office budget was among the topics the commissioners discussed Monday before wrapping up work on what Betty Greiner, the county’s director of administrative and financial services, described as the county’s “draft budget” for 2023.

No vote was taken Monday on the budget, which in its current form would reduce the county’s property tax by 0.775 mills from the current levy, from 50.999 mills to 50.224 mills.

This would reduce annual county property taxes by $8.91 for the owner of a $100,000 home whose assessed value has not increased this year.

Assessment values ​​are combined with mill levy levels to determine how much local property owners will pay in property taxes. About 89% of properties in Shawnee County saw their assessed value increase this year, Commissioners learned last March.

The county levy is part of a total property tax bill that includes levies for other government entities, including the city of Topeka, Washburn University, public school districts and local transportation, libraries and airport authorities.

Commissioners will hear comments on the draft budget when the county holds its public budget hearing at 5:30 p.m. on August 22 in the commission chambers in room B-11 of the county courthouse at 200 SE 7th.

The committee is then considered likely to finalize this budget when it meets at 9 a.m. on August 25 in these chambers.

The estimated budget is available published on the department’s website.

Sheriff Brian Hill doesn’t want to have to ask for more money

Hill requested $210,000 more for fuel for his office in his requested budget for 2023 than was in that office’s 2022 budget, $70,000 more for supplies and equipment, and $59,000 for the training and travel, Greiner said.

Mays suggested the sheriff’s office might not need as much money for fuel in 2023 as Hill had thought, saying the cost of gas has come down about $1 a year. gallon since the requested budget submitted to the Commissioners was created “a few months ago”.

The sheriff’s office was represented at Monday’s meeting by Deputy Sheriff Shane Hoobler, who told commissioners that one of Hill’s biggest concerns was that he didn’t want to have to ask the police for more money. committee later.

Cook responded that the county’s contingency fund can be used to cover any unforeseen, unbudgeted needs that arise for any office or department, including the sheriff’s office, and said he believed the county needed an additional $200,000 in this fund.

other business

On Monday, the commissioners also heard from Mays, the chairman of the commission, to say that he had canceled his meeting scheduled for Thursday because there was “simply not a lot on the agenda”.

Therefore, the commission will not meet again until Aug. 18, as the commissioners will meet on Aug. 15 to canvass votes in the Aug. 2 county primary election, Mays said.

Towards the end of Monday’s meeting, the commissioners met behind closed doors in executive session to receive legal advice.

Tim Hrenchir can be reached at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.