Welcome aboard one more time for another trip around Pulaski County with the deputies of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. It has been hot and we are still short on manpower. We have been busy and we have racked up the OT hours for our people.
Our first item of news is the loss of Deputy Brandon Robertson who has been with us for six years. He leaves us to move to the animal control position with the Waynesville Police Department. The pay is better and the paid employee benefit package too good to pass up for a family man. We will miss him and all we can say is Woof-Woof (goodbye and good luck) Brandon. We ALL promise you that we will torment you where ever we find you in the official discharge of your new duties, Woof!
For the past year now, my Chief Deputy has waged a relentless battle with me in an effort to move me out of my six-cylinder Dodge and put me into a “big boy” patrol car. His argument was that I was responding to far too many calls to continue working from the poorly equipped administrative vehicle. While I was not in disagreement with him, I could not do anything about that until this past week. We have purchased a “new” vehicle for the department. We bought a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria with 120,000 miles and it is currently being outfitted as my new vehicle. We hope to have it in service in about ten days.
The battle of the budget continues. As of July 31, for the budget item of supplies for the jail, we had a total of $64.42 left for the year out of an $8,000 budget. The jail supplies have usually run around the $14,000 to $15,000 mark each year. The past two years, we were given $5,000 each year which we depleted promptly. In order to make up the difference we raided the inmate security fund the past two years to make up the balance. In doing that for the past two years, we pretty well shot the inmate security fund out of business.
As of July 31, the inmate security fund had built back up to a total of $4,527.76 as a balance, so with a little luck and careful spending, we may make it to the end of the year without going into the red. However for the 2010 budget, the security fund will be completely done and we will have to look back at the 2006 budget which had $15,000 for jail supply. In 2006 we spent an actual amount of $13,340 and with the rise in prices I am sure the full $15,000 will be needed in the budget for 2010.
We also hit the brick wall in July when it comes to the inmate medical care. As of July 31, our balance was $23.81 out of a $55,000 budget. In 2008 we spent $81,442.91 on inmate medical and the Commission gave us $55,000 for 2009. At this time, I believe that we have other bills for about $7,000 yet to be paid. Then we have the cost of the new inmate medical care plan for the jail yet to be paid. So at this point my prediction is that we will equal or slightly exceed the 2008 budget figure for medical expense this year. The folks from the Advanced Correctional Healthcare Company tell me that the pure inmate medical costs can be roughly estimated at $1,000 per each inmate on the yearly total list. We generally average about 62 to 64 inmates per day for the year. That cost does not include dental treatment.
But the budget news is not all gloom and doom. The automobile expenses are going well and unless gasoline prices jump off the chart, we may well end the year just under our budget figure. We are also looking fairly good in total inmate board paid to other counties and we might make it under budget in that column as well. In the meantime take two aspirin and call me at the end of the year for the final outcome.
In other news, we had a major burglary last week with five weapons stolen from a business located within our county jurisdiction. Due to some outstanding work by the St. Robert police who were investigating another crime, we were handed suspects in this case on a silver platter and working with St. Robert police officers we have recovered all five weapons. As soon as we can get the details sorted out I will issue a news release for this case. As I can say here is job well done to SRPD!
So far we have had little trouble with the new one lane roadway on Highway 17 north of Waynesville. Likewise, the yellow busses seem to have rolled this past week without major chaos and critical events. I would like to remind everyone to drive with care and please keep your actions legal. We do not want your jail business but our lights are on.