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Late bills push NCSO over budget

TONOPAH — The Nye County Sheriff’s Office will still overspend its budget by at least $30,000 after the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year that ended July 1, despite an over $800,000 augmentation of its budget by county commissioners, Comptroller Susan Paprocki said Tuesday.

Nye County received a $990,000 check from the state for consolidated taxes, which includes mostly sales tax, to end the year without a negative fund balance, with that one exception, she said.

Sheriff’s office overruns of over $1 million in the last two fiscal years led commissioners to ask the Nevada Attorney General’s Office to file charges against Sheriff Tony DeMeo, but the AG’s office declined to prosecute, saying the sheriff didn’t willfully violate the law.

“We had one department in which we had to remove the budget constraint for 2013 in order for them to finish paying their bills in the general fund; that was the sheriff’s department,” Paprocki said. She added, “which for a $13 million department is not significant, but it is troubling they are over budget once again.”

Commissioner Dan Schinhofen also called the situation troubling, particularly after the effort to prosecute DeMeo.

“I’m disappointed in this,” he said.

Paprocki told Commissioner Lorinda Wichman some invoices held beyond the end of the fiscal year weren’t in her report yet, which means the $30,000 figure could climb even higher.

The county plans to require department heads and elected officials to appear in front of the commission with an action plan in the future if they are running 5 percent over budget through the year, Paprocki said. When it comes to the overage in the sheriff’s budget, she said, “it’s troubling, but it’s less than 1 percent.”

“Didn’t we augment them $850,000?” Schinhofen asked. “So on top of the $850,000, we’re $30,000 over budget?”

Paprocki said the sheriff’s department is combined with emergency management in a public safety budget.

Nye County Manager Pam Webster was tasked with a reorganization of staff in an attempt to cut a $800,000 negative fund balance anticipated at the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2014. The plan hasn’t been disclosed, but commissioners took a few steps including allowing the payment of accrued benefits for retiring county employees to expire before their replacement is hired. The county also instituted a hiring freeze.

The portions of the sheriff’s department that showed an excess in Paprocki’s 2012-13 fiscal year report were investigations, which was 106 percent overspent, a $31,843 excess and administrative support, 106 percent above budget, or $27,152 over. Otherwise the sheriff’s department spent only 99 percent of the budget as of July 22 on deputies out in the field and dispatch, while the budget for detention officers was 100 percent of the budgeted amount.

Paprocki estimates that on an annualized basis, the sheriff’s department will spend $13.57 million, as opposed to a $13.55 million budget, when encumbrances and one-time payments are included in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

To date she estimated spending at $13.44 million in that department with some bills yet to come.

PVT staff members contributed to this report.

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