BRADENTON -- Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube is used to playing catch-up when it comes to securing funding to run the MCSO. The budget increase Steube submitted at Wednesday's BOCC Budget Work Session would get him eight additional patrol deputies and four more for the jail, should commissioners approve his request. Although crime is down, the county's population is up, miles of roads to patrol are up, and calls for service are at an all-time high.
In 2012, crime decreased by 16 percent; in 2013 another 3 percent, and it looks like there will be a 7 percent drop this year if things keep going well. But doing a good job also comes with the price of those outside the department thinking no additional resources are needed. However, every new home built or northern transplant who relocates ultimately means more work to be done. In short, growth brings money, but it costs money as well.
The requested budget was whittled down by Steube this week from $107,131,959 to 104,386,254. Pay raises, pension contributions and additional officers for the street and jail add up to the $5,005,311 increase in the revised budget.
The Sheriff has petitioned commissioners year after year to bring his deputes' salaries up in order to be competitive with LEO salaries in surrounding counties. The bulk of the increase will go to deputy salaries.
Currently, Manatee deputies start with a salary of $40,785. The proposal will raise the starting salary to $43,853. That will take MCSO deputies from 15th on the list of surrounding departments to 12th.
MCSO says it has lost 147 officers to resignation or retirement since 2011. The Sheriff said he has also applied for Cop Grant Funding to help pay for the additional deputy salary funds.
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