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Sheriff's department budget a lot clearer

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news Ellsworth, 54011

Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

During last week's Pierce County Board meeting, Finance Director Julie Brickner alerted supervisors one of the potential shortfalls for the 2011 proposed budget was the sheriff's department still needed to cut almost $70,000.

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The shortfall got a lot clearer Monday at a finance and personnel committee meeting.

Sheriff Nancy Hove and Chief Deputy Neil Gulbranson informed the committee, due to more cuts and employees switching health insurance, the figure was down to $41,000.

Hove said she's gone through each line in the budget and was left with only one item: personnel.

"I don't want to do that because our department runs 24/7, but I understand needs have to be met at the county level," she said. She told the committee the deficit would be met by making a full-time position half-time.

Discussion then addressed other possible scenarios. Committee member Jeff Holst asked about each deputy needing their own squad car. Gulbranson responded it's needed in case multiple deputies are called out for serious calls (i.e. accidents).

"We are only buying used cars," Hove said. She added the lists for 2011 are more needs than wants.

"We are down to the bare bones," she continued, which Gulbranson backed up by saying the items the sheriff has control of, she's cut by 15 percent.

Items she doesn't have control of include the number of inmates in the jail and their physical or medical needs.

In the end, the committee passed the latest budget with the personnel cut being left. The committee's recommendation will go to the full county

board for approval next Tuesday.

The two sides have clashed over the last couple of months on how to reach a resolution. Hove was initially asked to cut $200,000. She made $100,000, but insurance increases eliminated it. She told the committee at an earlier meeting, she had no more spots to cut, so they told her to find $80,000. More cuts got that figure down to $68,800.

She said if there's any good news in this, it's when she first started looking at the budget, she figured a full-time position would be eliminated, so for only a full-time to go half-time worked out as best as it could.

For more please read the Nov. 3 print version of the Herald.

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