Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco sheriff seeks more jail staffing in $6.2 million budget increase

The first two floors of the expanded Land O’Lakes jail, which opened in 2009, are filled beyond capacity. Inmates began filling beds on the third floor in October. Sheriff Nocco wants more funding to staff the third floor and eventually build another annex.

Times files (2009)

The first two floors of the expanded Land O’Lakes jail, which opened in 2009, are filled beyond capacity. Inmates began filling beds on the third floor in October. Sheriff Nocco wants more funding to staff the third floor and eventually build another annex.

NEW PORT RICHEY — The flood of inmates has reached record levels. They've already spilled onto the jail's top floor, Sheriff Chris Nocco says. His staff is struggling to stay above it all, gasping for precious budget dollars.

Since the expansion of the jail in 2009, only its first two floors have been in use. But with a rising population, inmates began filling the 128 beds on the jail's third floor in October. Without deputies for that floor in this year's budget, Nocco said they have staffed it by burning overtime pay.

As he released his proposed $93 million budget for next year, Nocco made his push for a $6.2 million increase for, among other things, more staffing at the jail.

"We're putting more and more people in our jail, and it's setting the tone," he said at a press conference Friday. "In the long term, we have to ensure that we are properly staffed."

The sheriff presented the budget proposal earlier Friday to the County Commission. The proposal will go into consideration with the rest of the county's budget, which must be set by Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

Here's what makes up the requested $6.2 million increase:

• $900,000 for a new fleet of Ford Fusions for detectives.

• $1.7 million for state-mandated pension increases.

• $1.9 million in a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment, which the sheriff says will keep deputies from looking for jobs elsewhere. The sheriff, chief deputy, bureau commanders and chief administrative officer will not receive pay raises.

• Nearly $1.9 million to hire 41 new jail staffers for the third floor.

In recent months, Nocco has sent letters to the County Commission outlining conditions at the jail:

The average daily population is 1,450 inmates (that number was 1,490 Friday morning), leaving 58 inmates in temporary cots. About 415 live in temporary housing. In two years, the jail population is expected to reach 1,700.

Capt. Ray Revell, administration support division commander at the Sheriff's Office, previously told the Times that kitchen and laundry services at the jail have already reached capacity. The inmates who are left to sleep in cots on the floor — 279 on Thursday night, when the population spiked higher than average — pose civil rights concerns for the jail, he said.

Nocco said despite the requested budget increase, he's trying to cut costs where he can.

The Sheriff's Office hires deputies to staff the jail's control rooms, but it can pay civilians $23,000 less a year each for the same job. Nocco plans to do that, and move those 27 deputies to help staff the third floor of the jail. He would also hire eight more deputies and six licensed nurse practitioners for that floor.

With the rising inmate population comes rising medical care costs. Nocco said he has been negotiating with private medical care companies to see if they would be cheaper. The change would not figure into next year's budget, though.

The sheriff switched to a private food vendor in the jail last year.

At the press conference Friday, he maintained he's not asking for much.

"If you look at our budget, there is really nothing extravagant," he said. "We're asking for things that are … meat and potatoes. We're just trying to get through."

Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco sheriff seeks more jail staffing in $6.2 million budget increase 05/31/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 31, 2013 9:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]
  4. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Friday, June 23

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Graffiti butts are everywhere in downtown St. Pete. What's going on? [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | Times]