Ottawa county sheriff and county commission agree on plan to get budget back on track

More staff cuts coming to sheriff's office
Ottawa county sheriff and county commission agree on plan to get budget back on track
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The Ottawa County, Oklahoma sheriff and county commissioners agree on a plan to get the sheriff’s budget under control.

The sheriff’s budget has been projected to be short by tens of thousands of dollars for this fiscal year — and at one point, was short by more than 100-thousand dollars.

So far to try and get back on track.. the sheriff has instituted a ten-percent pay cut across the sheriff’s department.. changed some operations to save costs.. and cut seven full time employees — but he was still in the red.

At a special meeting on the 25th, the commission and county excise board urged the sheriff to make additional cuts to get into the green.

Kenny Wright, Ottawa County District Attorney:”Working through this weekend, the sheriff has been able to come up with I think a final plan that’ll get him under budget and keep him under budget for the rest of the fiscal year.”

At the normal county commission meeting (on 1/28), Sheriff Floyd gave a plan to county commissioners that involves cutting additional staff to get back on track.

Jeremy Floyd, Ottawa County Sheriff:”It’s not gonna be [such] a substantial amount that we’re not gonna be able to provide coverage for the people of Ottawa county. It’s gonna be a little tight, but at the same time, I think we’ll be within the guidelines [of the budget], and still be able to provide a good service.”

Wright:”It’s a huge relief for me because all of those worst case scenarios where things go really wrong are horrible for the county and would wind up with the tax payers having to foot the bill. So it looks like we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve averted that. I can’t tell you how huge of a relief this is.”

Wright expects the sheriff’s plan to work, but says the county may have enough funds in reserves to cover what’s left.. if it comes down to it.

Wright:”The way it’s set up it’s gonna be real close, so there’s gonna be ya know, little bits of tinkering here and there, but with the cuts that he’s making, it’s gonna be.. we’ve got a little bit of wiggle room in there.”

Wright also says the county commission and the excise board will continue to work with Sheriff Floyd into next fiscal year, so the same problems don’t come up again.

Wright:”We’ve already discussed some different larger expenses that the sheriff’s office routinely incurs, how we can dial those back a little bit. There’s lots of ideas of how we can improve the fiscal efficiency of the sheriff’s office for our future budgeting years.”

Floyd:”It’s always gonna be a work in progress, ya know anything that we do, so at the end of the day, I hope that we’ll continue providing the best service we can to the people of Ottawa county.”

Floyd did not provide specifics on how many staff may be cut.

He is expected to start making those staff cuts sometime this week.