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 May 1st, 2009  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara submits proposed budget, $150,000 less than current year budget, to Board of County Commissioners
Here is the text of Sheriff Ken J. Mascara's cover letter to the budget submittal, sent today to the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners:

Ms. Paula Lewis, Chairwoman
St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners
2300 Virginia Ave
Ft. Pierce, FL 34950
Dear Chairwoman Lewis:
I am pleased to present my proposed budget for fiscal year 2009-2010. I have directed my staff to cut spending, use grants and other one-time funding sources and preserve the vital criminal justice services that the citizens of St. Lucie County expect and deserve. Also, I have worked hard to ensure that our contractors and vendors hold prices steady.

Please note that there are no increases for health insurance, jail inmate medical services or jail inmate food. Please also note decreases for workers compensation insurance, liability insurance and auto insurance. These insurance premium decreases speak eloquently of the commitment by Sheriffs Office employees to reduce risk and save money.

It is also important to point out that many of the cost reductions, freezes and one-time revenue sources on which we are relying in the proposed budget will not be available in future years.

With regard to the School Resource Deputy program, it is clear from public statements by members of the Board of County Commissioners that the Board is as supportive of the program as I am. Nonetheless, at this time, the issue of full funding for the program remains unresolved. Accordingly, I have included in my proposed budget the same level of funding as in the current fiscal year budget with the realization that this is only half of the cost of maintaining this vital service at its current level.

For the second year in a row, my proposed budget contains no pay raises for our hardworking and deserving employees. Your Constitutional Officers have dealt proactively with revenue shortfalls by offering no raises in the current fiscal year. We were not joined in this responsible stance by some other local governmental entities which gave substantial pay raises to employees.

I respectfully request that the Board of County Commissioners recognize the needs of our employees by exploring all available revenues with which to pay at least a partial cost-of-living increase. This is entirely appropriate, keeping in mind that the current climate has required Sheriff’s Office employees to take on added responsibilities and to work even more efficiently and effectively than in the past.

The budget I present to you today does not anticipate any layoffs or additional frozen positions. It does, however, represent a reduction of $150, 117 in my funding request compared with the current fiscal year's approved budget.

My proposed budget is based on estimates for the price of fuel and the number of inmates at the jail for the coming fiscal year. We all learned in 2007 and 2008 that the price of fuel can skyrocket in a short time. Similarly, earlier in this fiscal year our jail population hit a record high. After a substantial downturn in the jail population, it is once again increasing.

I want to assure the Board of County Commissioners that I remain committed to working with you as we continue to navigate uncharted waters in the months and years ahead.


Ken J. Mascara
Sheriff of St. Lucie County 

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