BUDGET WORK SESSION FOR FY-12
SEMINOLE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURTROOM
TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2011
The Seminole County Board of Commissioners held a FY-12 Budget Work Session on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 in the Superior Courtroom located on the second floor of the Seminole County Courthouse. Those present were Chairman Tommy Rogers, Vice-Chairman Dell Shingler, Commissioner Brenda Peterson, Commissioner Roger Lane, Commissioner Scott Miller, and County Manager/Clerk Donna Jones. Several interested county employees were also present.
Corrections Officer, Carl Scott, updated the Commission on the progress being made in the Corrections/Probation office and their request for additional funding for the FY-12 budget. They are testing software that will cover all aspects of the requirements for the probationer from the sentence until release. The developers have been in the probation business for ten or eleven years. The monthly cost of the software would be $200 per month for the first year. After the first year, the cost is $1 per probationer per month.
The software is web based therefore, can be used in the office, or in court.
Each member of the staff, as well as the Sheriff, is required to attend a forty hour training session in Dublin. The fee for the training is $1,200 per person plus travel expenses.
Since Scott took over the office on April 19th they have issued twelve warrants and collected a large sum of fees. The court records are caught up through May 31st. There is still much to do and Scott feels that the office is a benefit to the county and doesn’t want to see the service privatized.
There are still changes in procedures needed in order to meet the requirements of the Probationary Council. Community Service is back up and running and may be a way to work with probationers who cannot pay their fines. We’ve had between six and eight workers come in to work the community service detail.
The personnel has been shifted to remove Carl Scott from Investigations to Corrections. The vacancy left in Investigations has been filled by Chief Investigator, Melvin Henry. Henry is presently covering both positions. This leaves a street level deputy position open.
The funds requested to make these changes would be approximately $50k for the first year and would require a budget amendment.
These funds would cover the part-time entry level position as well as computer software for the office and training for the employees.
Scott further stated that they are being required to put together a Policy and Procedure manual for the department. Once in place, the procedure will have to be followed and they are still in the transition stage and are not able at this time to have firm policies.
County Manager, Donna Jones, asked if the $1 per month per probationer would cover the cost of the software program itself as well as updates and maintenance. Scott replied yes. If Judge Lane approves the fee there should be little direct cost to the county. The first two months of the service would be free. The vendor is planning on coming on site next week to install the software to be activated July 1st. Scott has checked with Margo Harrell, our CPA, to make sure the paperwork is adequate for our audit procedures. The software will let the officers know whether or not a person has reported for probation, if not, a letter will be generated. There is a future feature that will make a phone call to the probationer.
Jones asked Sheriff Elliott if he had checked into Jailer training for staff that could serve as supervision officers over community service workers. There will be training in August and each staff member who wishes to register must be post qualified before attending the training.
Commissioner Roger Lane asked where the staff was in catching up with old cases and collection of outstanding fees. Scott replied that some FiFa’s have been issued and the staff is doing some one on one contact with probationers in an effort to collect old fees.
Chairman Rogers reported that we have been looking at how to amend the budget for these needs and are asking if the back fees would generate enough income to support the needed budget adjustment.
Scott replied that he hoped so but couldn’t promise anything. It will take longer to have the office function more efficiently and not back up the jail. They’re trying to work out methods of collecting old fees without locking up probationers which will add to the already overcrowded condition of the jail.
Jones reported that the tax digest would be available by the end of July and at that time we could see what income would need to be generated in order to keep the millage the same for the fourth consecutive year.
Jones stated that revenues were up this year due to receiving back revenues from FEMA; sales tax figures exceeded budgeted amounts; and EMS collections were up.
The Commission could take some of the funds that would sweep into reserves when the fiscal year is closed to fund the upcoming murder trial; volunteer fire departments; as well as replacing the camera system in the jail and adding to the security system in the courthouse.
The minimum cost to try a capital murder case would be $150,000 to the county. This cost could vary substantially depending on change of venue or expert witnesses. Jones stated that the funding needed for the murder case could not be found in the budget that has already been adopted for FY12. There simply was not enough excess to trim.
Commissioner Lane made a motion to wait until a tax digest can be provided and the D.A. was able to tell us if the upcoming murder trial will be a capital case. Commissioner Brenda Peterson provided the second. Motion passed.
Chairman Rogers closed the meeting in order to proceed into the regular monthly commission meeting.
ADOPTED THIS __________ DAY OF JULY 2011
SEMINOLE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
DONNA JONES, CLERK