Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sheriff counting on new board to 'properly' fund office

Delaware County Sheriff Walter Davis could be breathing a little easier next week when county commissioners are expected to vote on increased funding for his office. Davis entered 2009 with a projected $750,000 deficit for the year. The budget had been allocated by the previous board of commissioners, but with three new commissioners joining the board at the beginning of the year, a budget fix could be in sight. "The previous commissioners listened to the sheriff's request and decided to go with their own numbers," said county Commissioner Ken O'Brien, who took office in January.


Both sides have expressed a commitment to find a solution and avoid the problems of the past.
"We want the tension and stress between the sheriff's office and the commissioners to be a thing of the past," Davis said. "I believe in them until they prove me wrong or someone proves me wrong." Commissioners enlisted Delaware County Administrator Dave Cannon to find solutions to the funding problems. O'Brien said he expects Cannon to present his findings to commissioners during their meeting Monday, June 22. "My goal is to fund the amounts on Monday," O'Brien said. Davis said he already has been able to chip away about $80,000 of the deficit by holding back on replacing employees who had resigned or were fired. The sheriff's office also has been awarded 29 grants, one as recently as last week, which provided $22,000 to fund a school resource officer. Starting this week, Davis has been able to raise further funds through the introduction of an online sheriff's auction. A link at the sheriff's office Web site directs visitors to where they can purchase seized or unclaimed items from Delaware County. O'Brien said he is confident next week's meeting will be the end of the financial crisis for the sheriff's office for 2009. While the money is there to fix the budget for 2009, O'Brien said the talk should include how to save money to avoid problems in 2010. O'Brien and Davis both said they were eager to cooperate for the future. "Through education, participation and cooperation with each commissioner, I think they will properly fund the office so we can avoid these kind of issues in the future," Davis said.

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