The Pulaski County Council is asking the sheriff to look for money in his budget to help cover the cost of his deputies’ new retirement plan. Last year, the council approved a switch from a 20- to a 32-year retirement plan. That was expected to increase the county’s cost by about $28,000 a year.
At the time, Sheriff Jeff Richwine thought he could cover at least half of that out of his department’s funds. But more recently, Richwine said the county council had agreed to cover that entire amount and asked for an additional appropriation of almost $29,000. During this month’s meeting, though, Council Member Kathi Thompson pointed out that the minutes of the council’s October meeting appear to dispute that.
Richwine explained that since he hadn’t heard anything from council members, he’d assumed that they’d be willing to find the extra money. “I’m willing to go try to look for that, but to be honest with you, I really think the days of me finding $12,000 are probably pretty slim,” he told council members. “I’ve cut my budget almost every year that I’ve been here, except the last year, I didn’t cut it as much. But the first three years, I returned over $100,000 every year.”
In the end, council members voted to appropriate half of the requested amount and asked Richwine to take another look through his budget, to come up with the rest.
They also finalized an additional appropriation of almost $13,000, to help cover the cost of medical bills for a jail inmate who was undergoing cancer treatment.