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Fuel costs, supply chain woes challenge Kewaunee County Sheriff's budget

In this article, I would like to share information related to the financial aspect of operations here at the Sheriff’s Department. All of the amazing work that is being done throughout the year by so many dedicated staff would not be possible without the financial infrastructure to support it. As with so many local businesses, we pride ourselves in providing second-to-none service, while keeping a close eye on our bottom line. We truly appreciate and take seriously our obligation as stewards of our community’s resources, as we apply them to keeping Kewaunee County a safe place to live and work. Just like you, we are also taxpayers and are affected by rising costs and increased financial demands in our personal lives.

         

Let’s start with the overall budget here at the Sheriff’s Department which for 2022 was $4,269,355.00. This was a .97% increase from the previous year’s budget of $4,157,404.00, with the majority of that budget ($3,867,141.00) dedicated to the wages and benefits of our greatest resource, our staff.           

         

The next largest portion of our budget is dedicated to Capital outlay which was at $132,114.00 for 2022. The expenses within this line item include items such as the rotational replacement of our squads and associated equipment, Technology updates and other equipment rotations.

         

After Capital Outlay, the next biggest expense that we have budgeted for is the Out of County Housing for our inmates at $54,000.00 in 2022. It is our expectation that once our new facility is up and running these costs will cease to exist. We are very grateful for the various county facilities that have been willing to house our inmates over the years, which has allowed us to operate within our current facility limitations. Right behind this line item, was the cost of fuel which in 2022 was budgeted at $50,000.00.

         

Another significant expense here that Sheriff’s Department is the cost of medical services within our Jail Facility at $80,000.00 along with our Inmate food budget at 34,000.00, which as I wrote about in the previous week’s article is part of our statutory obligations. Just as in all of the line items, we do our best on a daily basis to find every possible means by which to curtail spending while meeting our basic obligations. From there the various line items decrease in amounts with Squad maintenance, Building Maintenance, and Equipment leases accounting for approximately $81,000.00 combined. Overall, our budget consists of 75 different line items, which allow us to accurately track both expenses and revenues so that we can target those areas where we see either the need for increased support or in some cases decreased allocations to those specific line items.

        

While we have always been proud of the fact that we have stayed within budget over the past 16 years, this year we were met with two significant challenges. The first was our fuel costs, and the second was the cost of new squads. Due to these two factors, we did have to make a request for the utilization of contingency funds for the first time. In fact, at this time, we are still awaiting the delivery of our squads that we ordered for the 2022 budget cycle. These squads were ordered in late 2021 once the 2022 budget was approved. This is an example of how we have all been affected by the current state of our economy. Our ability to navigate in these uncertain and unstable times is both a statement to the accurate estimating of future costs by our Command Staff, along with our Finance Director and County Administrator. This is also a testament to the flexibility and dedication of our staff who are asked routinely to make adjustments to their personal lives to manage schedules, fill in open shifts, and think outside the box on cost savings in our day-to-day operations. If you have any questions regarding what I have very briefly covered in this article, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

        

If you would like greater detail into our budget process, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. Also, the entire county budget is available on our website at: www.kewauneeco.org

          

Next week will be my final article of this series, where I will be sharing some insight into our future goals here at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department.

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