Sheriff asks for six-figure budget increase

Constitutional officers present requests

By Heather Michon, correspondent

Some long-serving county employees remember when departmental operating funds were doled out by an administrator carrying a checkbook.

Today, dividing up Fluvanna’s $80 million budget involves months of reports and meetings and a whole lot of spreadsheets.

Discussion of the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) budget continued Wednesday (Feb. 13) as the county’s five constitutional officers – Commissioner of Revenue Andrew Sheridan, Treasurer Linda Lenherr, Clerk of the Circuit Court Tristana Treadway, Sheriff Eric Hess, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip – made their annual presentations to the Board of Supervisors.

Hess asked for increases across multiple line items totaling $18,175 more than last year. “That may be a bit [confusing], however, as the SPCA contract for animal shelter services ($155,326) that we paid in FY19 was removed from our budget and placed in the county budget,” wrote Capt. Dave Wells in an email. “So in actuality it’s $173,501 over FY19 when adjusted for the removal of the SPCA contract.

“The bulk of that request is to fund two additional deputies in their entirety if the state compensation board will not provide any partial funding,” Wells continued. “The bulk of the remainder is for promotion funding, funding for new technology, and to replace agency sidearms that are reaching the end of their service life. For new deputies it is not merely salary and benefits, it is also costs such as training and equipment.”

Three constitutional officers felt they only needed small increases over last year. Haislip requested about $300 to cover professional fees. Treadway asked for about $2,500, mainly for career development programs for her staff. Sheridan said he needed about $1,000 to cover meals and lodging for staff attending professional development classes.

Lenherr did not request additional money for this year’s budget.

The board will consider all these requests as they continue to work toward the completion of the budget sometime this spring.

Each officer talked about some of the things their staffs had accomplished over the past years and made their pitches for approval of their proposed budgets.

Some of the advances over the year were structural, with Treadway and Sheridan talking about improvements made in their offices and public spaces. Both have completed the move to paperless systems.

Hess talked about several programs his department has started or expanded to enhance community policing.

All five praised their staffs for the quality and quantity of work they performed.

For example, Treadway’s staff of clerks processed over 1,000 passports, recorded 4,000 deeds, issued 100 marriage licenses, and assisted at almost 700 court cases. Lenherr’s staff resolved almost $500,000 in delinquent tax payments. Hess’s officers handed 28,000 calls for service and made about 800 arrests.

The county has worked to hire and retain high-quality personnel, and several officials touted their staffs’ career development advancements.

Sheridan said that four of his staff members had completed their coursework to become master commissioners of the revenue, and a fifth will be certified by the end of the year. “We were only able to do that because the board gives us funds and supports us,” he said.

“I just want to echo what Mr. Sheridan and Ms. Lenherr have said,” Treadway added. “We do feel so blessed.”

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