Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sheriff looks to 7 percent budget increase as jail population grows

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco says vehicles are breaking down.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco says vehicles are breaking down.

DADE CITY — Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco on Tuesday told county commissioners his office needs millions of dollars in additional funding to staff the jail's third floor and pay for more patrol vehicles and training.

Nocco met with commissioners in a 90-minute workshop to discuss his proposed $93 million budget, which commissioners must debate before final adoption in September.

"This is based on need not on want," Nocco said.

In addition to increased staff at the jail and more police vehicles, the plan calls for a 3 percent, across-the-board wage increase for workers and an additional $210,000 for deputy training, $508,000 for technology and $179,000 for fleet maintenance.

The plan reflects a 7 percent increase over last year's budget and comes as commissioners are hoping to trim a proposed 7.8 percent increase in the aggregate millage rate and a potential 5-cent-per-gallon hike in gas taxes for road maintenance.

"My hope is he'll be able to go back in there and find further reductions," Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said.

Nocco and other sheriff's officials said they might be willing to pare the office's spending request. They asked, however, that certain priorities remain funded, specifically, the staffing requests and new vehicles.

The Sheriff's Office is requesting $900,000 to purchase 43 vehicles using Penny for Pasco, a local option sales tax approved by voters last fall. Sheriff's officials said many vehicles are so old they're breaking down, adding to maintenance costs.

Staffing is another problem, Nocco said. The shortages at the jail are so acute the office is limited in how many inmates it can place on the third floor — all this as the jail's average daily population is expected to soar over the next 10 years. Currently, the average daily population is 1,487 inmates. Because of growth, that number is expected to increase to 2,137 inmates by 2023.

The sheriff is requesting $621,000 to hire 27 civilian "control room operators" to help handle the growing population. The move would allow more inmates to move to the third floor and free up deputies to oversee the housing units. Currently, 128 inmates are housed there.

Another problem related to the jail's population growth is inmates' medical costs. Many suffer from diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular problems, in some cases fueled by years of drug abuse, and more pregnant women are showing up in jail, officials said.

The Sheriff's Office proposed hiring more medical professionals, including six nurses, to help oversee inmates' medical needs and cut down on outside medical contractors.

County staff, working with the Sheriff's Office, recommended that officials cede to Nocco's staffing requests. But the county also suggested some cuts, including trimming $2 million from the sheriff's budget.

A revised version leaves in place the 3 percent salary increase and 75 percent of the requested amount for staffing. It also anticipates $1.6 million in retirement benefits.

County commissioners are expected to discuss the sheriff's budget, as well as other county budgets, in coming weeks. They are set to take a final vote Sept. 24.

Contact Rich Shopes at rshopes@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236.

Sheriff looks to 7 percent budget increase as jail population grows 08/06/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 7:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sen. Bill Nelson ready to campaign on GOP failure to fix Obamacare

    Blogs

    For years, Sen. Bill Nelson has faced a steady barrage of partisan attacks over the Affordable Care Act, but as he begins the 2018 re-election campaign, the Democrat stands to benefit from a flipped script:

  2. Simeon Rice: Bucs' total eclipse of the quarterback

    Sports

    Who needs a total eclipse of the sun when Simeon Rice, former Bucs sack king and cosmic force, is in town?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice provides insights to current players after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. 311 coming to the Cuban Club in Tampa

    Blogs

    For the second time this year, 311 is playing a small club in Ybor City. This time, though, you might actually have a shot at getting in.

    311
  4. Sheriff's office identifies woman shot by Hernando deputies after brandishing shotgun

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman who was shot by deputies who say she was suicidal when she pointed a shotgun at them on Sunday.

  5. Mike Evans supports Michael Bennett's protest

    Sports

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans was signing autographs for children after Bucs practice on Saturday. As he signed, he talked about Seattle defensive and former Buc Michael Bennett, who last Friday sat during the national anthem and who says he will continue to do so to fight racial injustice.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) comes down with a catch during practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times