INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Though there was some confusion as to if and then when a budget would be delivered, Sheriff Deryl Loar was asked by the Board of County Commissioners to provide a blueprint for how his agency will cut $2.3 million from the money he has been allocated.
Loar appeared before the Board of County Commissioners initially for what he thought was a formality to request permission to have the freedom to move money within the budget as he deems necessary. “At the July 14 budget workshop it was agreed that I would have the ability to move money out of the operating budget and into capital and expenses,” Loar told commissioners.
At that workshop, Loar was asked to cut $2.3 million from his $42.4 million budget. Loar balked at that request at the time, but the board remained adamant that cuts were necessary across the entire county budget.
The Sheriff reluctantly agreed to make the cuts. Commissioners said they did not want to tell him where or how to make the cuts and Loar left with the understanding he would have much leeway in how he would be allowed to manage the money.
“On October 1, I will be given a budget of $40,067,000, which is a $2.3 million reduction,” he said. “On October1 through September 30 (2011), it is my responsibility to manage those dollars and this body on July 14 gave me that authority.”
Commissioner Bob Solari pressed Loar that the Sheriff needed to provide the county with a detailed budget.
“I would have expected a budget that reflected those cuts,” he said.
The Sheriff said he would provide a document, but that it would be in the form of a rough draft.
“Although I will give you a revised budget, I can tell you it’s a very rough draft,” he said. “We are turning over every stone possible to try and make this happen. I can’t tell you this is what we are going to spend on capital and this is what we are going to spend on expenses and this is what we are going to spend on salary.”
Commissioner Gary Wheeler said he was against allowing Loar too much latitude in the budget process.
“If I were in your shoes I would do the same thing,” he said. “I don’t fault you for asking, but I have a different responsibility to the taxpayers than I had as sheriff. Budgets need to be as accurate as possible and if they need to be amended they should be amended publicly before the money is spent.”
A motion to give Sheriff Loar the ability to make adjustments in the budget as he deemed necessary was offered with Commissioners Joe Flescher, Wesley Davis and Peter O’Bryan apparently ready to agree. Commissioners Solari and Wheeler appeared to be against the measure.
However, it was eventually tabled when County Attorney Alan Polackwich pointed out that the commissioners could not amend a budget that has not yet been approved. The commissioners asked Loar to present a budget at the next hearing on the matter scheduled for Sept. 8