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Bay Buzz

The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas sheriff cutting budget (and moving goal posts?)



Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats is making a new argument against the County Commission's target for him to cut $30 million to help reach a $60 million spending reduction for 2011.

"It's not really to balance the budget," said Chief Deputy Robert Gualtieri after discussing job cuts that Coats is making.

Why? Because $20 million is actually the proportional cut by the Sheriff's Office to balance the budget. The remaining cut goes toward a budget stabilization fund to help make up deficits expected in 2011.

"I think that makes a big difference," Gualtieri said of understanding what cuts should happen.

That's true. But even with that fund, county officials say $20 million in cuts will be needed in 2012. So without it, the projected deficit in the general fund gets larger.

County Administrator Bob LaSala's departments are supposed to trim $21 million. The looming debate, therefore, is who shoulders the cuts between what the sheriff makes -- or more important doesn't -- and how much the commission holds the sheriff to making deep cuts.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:30pm]


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