Sheriff seeks $86.3 million for next fiscal year
By Ronnie Blair | Tribune StaffNEW PORT RICHEY - Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco is proposing an $86.3 million budget for fiscal 2013, a 3.5 percent increase over last year's spending plan for the sheriff's office.
Published: June 5, 2012
Published: June 5, 2012
"We are looking forward to working with the commissioners on this," Nocco said Friday as he unveiled his proposed budget.
The county commission, which must approve the sheriff's budget, has "tough decisions" ahead of it, Nocco said, and he realizes the commission has to look at a bigger picture than just the needs of his agency.
The sheriff's budget doesn't include a request for any additional deputies or raises for employees.
Nocco said the 3.5 percent proposed spending increase is driven by factors beyond his agency's control, such as a $950,000 increase in fuel costs, a $750,000 increase in medical insurance costs, a $100,000 increase in contributions to the Florida Retirement System, and $1.1 million to continue paying for 24 deputies hired three years ago with federal stimulus dollars.
The county commission previously agreed to pay those deputies as a condition of the sheriff's office receiving the federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant. The grant paid the deputies for three years and the county has been setting aside money in preparation for the day that it would have to take over.
Even though he didn't include raises in his request, Nocco said he is hoping commissioners will give consideration to a cost-of-living adjustment for his employees, who haven't seen a pay increase in five years.
The sheriff said he plans to broach that topic with the hope of adding the extra pay to his submitted budget. If he's unsuccessful in swaying the commissioners, employees would be disappointed but continue to perform their duties professionally, he said.
"People don't join law enforcement because they want to be millionaires," he said.
But the lack of pay increases for five years has had an effect, Nocco said, because the cost of living has gone up. As a result, some experienced deputies left for better-paying opportunities.
Nocco's $147,364 salary would not be affected by the commissioners' decision. In Florida, the state sets the salaries for sheriffs based on county population, and Nocco's remains the same as last year's.