By now I’m sure everyone has seen or heard something about the various 2013-2014 budgets.  

We are in that time of year when our local governmental entities, (county, cities, schools), have to formally pass the funding for their upcoming budget year. These days most every local budget period runs from Oct. 1 to Sept.30.  This is the time period Ellis County uses.

In Ellis County government most offices and departments run on a single budget. An exception is the sheriff’s office. We maintain two budgets. One is for sheriff’s office operations and the other is the Wayne McCollum Detention Center (county jail).  

For audit purposes the sheriff’s budget is referred to as Dept. 10 and the jail is Dept. 15.

Recently, Ellis County Judge Bush said in commissioners court about how the sheriff’s office and jail has the largest portion of the budget pie.  

That is a true statement.  

She also brought up how the cost of things and workloads have increased. Utilities, fuel, supplies, etc., is something we have all seen increase in our own households and the same holds true for running county government.  

As a result of increases in cost one might expect that the sheriff’s office and jail budget operational line items would have increased dramatically over the years.  

Fortunately this is NOT the case.

When I became your sheriff in January 2009, my goal was to increase services for the same or less money.  To start this endeavor I went to the county auditor. He told me when working on or preparing budgets the only thing I had real control over is operational line items dealing with areas other than salary and related expenses.

My next stop was with the individual commissioners. I told them of my plans and how I wanted to expand some services to the residents. I was told as long as I stayed within my total allotted budget they had no problem with me moving funds to different areas. (And by the way, all line item transfers have to be approved by commissioners court.)

Future columns will go into more detail about all the services the sheriff’s office and jail has provided.  

When you read those please keep the following in mind. The non-salaried line items is LESS than what my predecessor, Retired Ellis County Sheriff Ray Stewart, had approved by commissioners in his last budget in October 2008. The S.O. Dept 10 is $26,270 less and the Jail Dept 15 is $91,725 less.

I realize this can’t last forever, but since January 2009 it has been More Services - Less Money.

Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute. He has been in law enforcement for 20 years and holds a Master’s Peace Officer’s Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.