Sheriff asks for $900,000 increase

Keywords: Poll question,

Jail staffing is large part of 2013 request

By Michael Maresh

Journal staff Writer

The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office requested more money for its department operations and detention center than what it received for the current year.

Sheriff Dennis Spruell made the request to the county commission on Monday, saying there are few changes from the existing budget to the 2013 requested budget.

However, the change to the jail’s budget is quite significant.

He said the largest increase in the 2013 requested $5.4 million budget is a $268,153 increase in one particular area. Of the 74 employees, 39 work at the jail.

This year, four employees working at the detention center are being funded through a grant which expires at the end of the year.

If the employees remain with the sheriff’s office they would have to be funded by the department, which was a big reason why Spruell’s budget request was higher this year.

The requested 2013 budget is $913,000 more than the current year’s budget going from about $4.48 million to around $5.39 million.

Spruell said the increase requested was not too much of a surprise to the county commissioners.

“There was no response. (The commission) knew we were going to have to do something,” Spruell said about the need to pay for staffing

Another small increase was from the rising cost of fuel and postal services from last year, Spruell said.

The commission will make the decisions on the department budgets in December.

Spruell told the commission that the jail is always running at 93 to 128 percent capacity with a staff that is short six employees. Not being fully staffed is a savings of between $430,000 to $470,000.

The sheriff also told the commission that inmates at the county jail do not get a free ride in any of the services or materials that are available.

As an example Spruell said inmates making phone calls will have to pay for these calls, and added if they want something from the commissary that too must be purchased.

“It’s not free to stay in our jail,” he said.

Spruell said he has only requested one budget to the commission, which was last year for the current 2012 budget, and while it was approved, he does not know what will happen involving the budget he just requested.

“I am trying to request the best budget I can and still maintain the service we have,” Spruell said.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com