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Allen County Commission cuts dispatch center budget, increases others

Dispatch center budget cut close to five thousand

Allen Co Budget
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Allen Co Budget

ALLEN COUNTY, Kan. - The Allen County Commission passed an 18.9 million dollar budget for the fiscal year 2020. 

But, it's leaving some departments frustrated. 

Sheriff Bryan Murphy says the budget process started, department heads were told to include a four percent increase for raises for their employees. 

Murphy requested a nine percent increase for the patrol budget and a seven percent increase for the jail. 

"There's about four vehicles I've gotta replace, so that is a substantial amount of money," Murphy explains. "And for the jail side, we added another employee to the payroll in 2019, so that's another expense."

The dispatch center requested a 74 thousand dollar increase -- so they could give their ten employees the four percent raises. 

But Murphy says a few weeks ago, the commission told him and the dispatch center director Angela Murphy to decrease their requests by 75 percent. 

Murphy: "I was under the impression that I was at about 30 thousand dollars. Which is a little short on the patrol side and a lot short on the jail side for their three percent COLA and one percent merit raises. Then later, found out that it was actually less than the original proposal and 75 percent cut."

The commission ended up approving a 22 thousand dollar increase for the sheriff's patrol, and an 11 hundred dollar increase for the jail. 

And for dispatch, the budget was decreased by close to five thousand dollars -- from 817 thousand to 812 thousand. 

"There are departments that have four and five people in them that received a budgetary increase of 10 thousand dollars, twelve thousand dollars. I'm sitting in my jail alone with roughly twenty employees, and I get one thousand one hundred and ninety-two dollars. I struggle with that," Murphy says. "I can't see where another department went backward. Even my 11 hundred dollars was an increase."

According to the approved budget, the County Counselor's office received a nearly 9 thousand dollar increase.

The County Clerk's office saw a nearly 10 thousand dollar increase.

The County Treasurers' office saw around a 9 thousand dollar increase. 

And the County Attorney's office saw a more than 12 thousand dollar increase. 

County commissioner Jerry Daniels declined an on-camera interview but says the sheriff's office and dispatch departments both saw increases the last five years, and that the county is trying to keep from increasing the mill levy. 

According to county records, the Sheriff's yearly budget has increased by 433 thousand dollars between 2014 and what been approved for the 2020 budget. 

"I have, but there are reasons behind that. I don't spend taxpayer money willy nilly and buy things we don't need. And that all comes back to the commission.. if they didn't approve that, I wouldn't have had an increase," Murphy says. 

As for the dispatch center, their yearly budget has increased by 262 thousand dollars between 2014 and 2020. 

Center Director Angela Murphy sent us information, explaining in 2014 the budget was increased for staff raises.

In 2015 and 2016, she requested less than each year before. 

Then in 2017, the budget was increased sot he county could sign on with NextGen 911, for text-to-911. 

She then hired another staff member in 2018, and two-dollar raises for employees at the center we approved by commissioners in 2019.

Both the sheriff's office and dispatch centers plan to give their employees raises. 

But Sheriff Murphy says it's going to take quite a bit of work. 

Murphy says, "If you're going to do this to one department, it should be across the board equally."

The commission did tell both Sheriff Murphy and the director of the dispatch center that they will keep an eye on their budgets, and help them if they need it toward the end of the year.

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