Pulaski County Council Considers Options for Outside Reimbursement Funds Not Included in Budget

Reimbursable costs are eating into the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department budget. Sheriff Jeff Richwine recently told the county council that when his jailers have to transport federal inmates, his department gets $18 per hour from the federal government for their labor.

The problem is that extra money doesn’t automatically get added onto the department’s budget, meaning the Sheriff’s Department needs the council’s permission before they can spend it. Making things more difficult is that the number of transfers have led to extra overtime. Council members didn’t take action to make the federal funding available for use directly, but instead agreed to transfer $15,000 from the Sheriff’s Department’s Jailer Payroll line item to Jailer Overtime.

In a similar issue, Richwine said his department’s police cars have gotten into a couple deer accidents recently, but the insurance money isn’t available for the Sheriff’s Department’s use. “We’re paying that out of our Equipment Repair [line item], which would usually only be $1,000 a shot,” he explained. “For our Equipment Repair on a crash of a vehicle, we’d pay the $1,000 deductible, but we’re paying the whole thing. If it’s a $5,000 crash, we’re paying $5,000.”

To solve the problem, Richwine asked if the insurance company could simply pay the bill directly to the business doing the repairs, rather than sending a check to the county. Auditor Laura Wheeler believed they could.

Meanwhile, Wheeler said the county’s Emergency Management Agency received grant funding to help with the cost of updating the multi-hazard mitigation plan, but that money was not included in the budget. “Grants have to be appropriated, too,” she said, “another one of those things that we’re not used to it, we don’t know we have to do this, and so it gets overlooked at budget time.”

The EMA requested an additional appropriation of more than $1,700, so it may spend the grant money.