Inflation, including the increased costs of fuel and personnel due to population growth, are being cited for increases in the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) proposed budget submitted to the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for fiscal 2023. The more than $69 million budget reflects increases in costs for law enforcement, detention operations and courthouse security across the board.
“We must respond to and plan for inflation and growth in the county in order to maintain a safe community,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis wrote when submitting the proposed budget to the board.
Specifically, the total $69,575,299 proposed fiscal plan seeks $50,261,878 for law enforcement, $17,534,043 for detention operations and $1,779,378 for courthouse security.
Those proposed figures are up $4,798,486, $1,554,643 and $37,312 respectively from those contained in the approved budget for 2022.
Increases in law enforcement reflect the need for additional personnel driven by population growth, Nienhuis wrote. This year’s additional positions include a marine deputy, two traffic deputies, a forensic technician, and another major case detective in addition to a pair of law enforcement academy positions that were budgeted outside the general fund in 2022.
“In light of that current and future growth, the proposed budget includes the first phase of a five-year plan to ensure HCSO has the law enforcement, court security, detention, and commensurate support services in place to ensure a safe county for Hernando County current and future residents,” Nienhuis wrote. “This is especially critical considering the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office is well below the statewide average ratio of deputies per 1,000 citizens.”
Meanwhile, operational and administrative costs continue to rise.
“Just two examples are the current cost of gasoline to keep a 24-hour-a-day fleet on the road and the cost of food and supplies for jail inmates,” he wrote to the BOCC. “Scarcity and supply-chain issues also continue to drive up the cost of computer hardware.”
For details about the proposed HCSO budget for fiscal 2023, visit https://www.hernandosheriff.org/documents/budget/2022Budget/HCSOFY2022ProposedBudgetBook.pdf