Eau Claire (WQOW) – The Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department asked for more money from county taxpayers at their first 2016 budget meeting tonight, after over-spending this year's budget by more than $450,000.
The Committee on Judiciary and Law Enforcement met on Thursday night. There, Sheriff Ron Cramer showed the committee how the sheriff's revenues compare to last year, as well as their needs for 2016. Cramer said the major item on the agenda deals is that $450,000 dollar shortfall. He says about 83 percent of his budget goes toward personnel and if he isn't given any room to grow, he may have to cut five deputies and $47,000 the usual $11 million budget.
“If we cut these people, services are going to be cut. There's no doubt, that rather than having three car minimum, out in the county, we may only have two deputies. And for a crash and a domestic, both deputies would be tied up and we really don't for public safety want to see that,” said Cramer.
Cramer said they've been on a zero-growth budget since 2002, so this isn't the first time deputies have been put in this position. Although, if you compare the number of people at Eau Claire County's Sheriff Department, to those at La Crosse and Marathon Counties, Cramer said Eau Claire County is already about 21 people short.
It's hard to know what the out-come will be at this point, because it's still early in the budgeting process. The sheriff's department's next meeting will be with the county administrator and finance director at the end of August, after that they go to the budget and finance committee. That committee will make a recommendation to the full county board in mid November.