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