As with counties all over the state, Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini is trying to shuffle department funds around to keep deputies on the road while paying the bills.
"As for layoffs, at this time I'm not certain," said Donini. "it is something I need to look into."
The Sheriff's Office , like all county offices, are running under tight finances this year. The county commissioners asked all departments to cut their budgets by 14 percent from last year's budget.
"However, when you look at some of our line items, you'll see we were cut more than 14 percent," Donini said. He expects his fuel, food for jail inmates and car lease payment budgets to all be depleted by June.
He said the salary account isn't in that bad of shape.
"The only thing is when I'm short of money, where am I going to get it?", he said. "as for the likelihood of layoffs, I can't say if it is going to occur. I hope we don't have to do layoffs and we may not have to".
"Unfortunately, our only choices are raise taxes or cut services," he said.
Donini said he can recall exactly the last time when the sheriff's had to cut deputies -- August 1981.
"Believe it or not, I was one of the people that got laid off," he said.
Donini said three deputy spots that are vacant and will remain so for the time being. The sheriff's office has 51 sworn deputies."If I have to do layoffs, I have to do it early," he said. "You can't wait to do it in October. But I have other options."
He said some of the positions in the sheriff's office are being funded by other sources than the county's general budget. One officer's wages is being paid through the anti-drug (DARE) program, two members of the Narcotics UNit are being paid through drug seizure money and a civilian clerk is being paid with money from the sheriff's office cut of a $25 fingerprinting and background check fee.
"I don't like using those funds and they'll deplete quickly because salaries are the biggest item we have to pay," he said. "Before I do anything more, I'm going to disect our budget."
Donini said if the salary account is lowered, he may be able to transfer money from that account to the food, gas and car payments accounts.
However, even trying to cut the number of deputies may not be an option. With the new jail oening next year, the department is required by the Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention to hire and train 16 new deputies. Plus, the sheriff's office has contracts with 12 townships to provide police service.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, Ext.235.