Sheriff’s office 2018 budget topic on Friday

February 6, 2019

JUNEAU -- A joint meeting of the Finance and Judicial Public Protection Committee will meet at 8 a.m. Friday to discuss and possibly take action on the 2018 Dodge County Sheriff’s Office budget revenue shortfall.

The meeting is scheduled in the administration building, 127 E. Oak St., Juneau.

Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said the Dodge County Board of Supervisors’ decision to shutter J Pod caused his department to realize a $490,000 budget shortfall.

Schmidt said when he approached the Dodge County Board of Supervisors he urged them to wait and possibly close J Pod in February or March rather than the end of December.

“I asked at the county board and committee levels to hold off on closing J Pod,” Schmidt said. “If it were handled differently we would’ve ended up in the black last year.”

Dodge County Board Supervisor and Finance Committee member David Guckenberger said Monday if Schmidt would have been given until February or March to close J Pod it would’ve have just shifted the problem from the 2018 budget to 2019 budget.

“We can find the reason why we are overspent, but it doesn’t change anything,” Guckenberger said. “What we have to do is focus our attention on the 2019 budget so we don’t have the same problem again.”

When asked if the closure if the closure of J Pod could have been handled differently Guckenberger said Schmidt had six months to minimize the impact on the overall budget.

“He didn’t have a plan,” Guckenberger said. “I asked last month at our finance committee meeting if he had a plan and he didn’t. He should’ve have a plan in place. Someone should have been able to tell us we were going to have problems.”

Guckenberger said people in Dodge County work on an annual budget.

He said the Dodge County Board of Supervisors made the decision to close J Pod in July.

“Why couldn’t he (Schmidt) resolve the issue in those six months before it was closed?” Guckenberger said.

The county board decided in December to hire the Matrix Consulting Group of California to look at the sheriff’s office’s budgeting and financial procedures, evaluate service contracts for food and medical, assess staffing levels and review the revenue generated from housing federal inmates.

The Dodge County Executive Committee is expected to hear an update on the Sheriff’s Office Operational Review at 8 a.m. Thursday in the administration building, 127 E. Oak St., Juneau.

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