Wic. Sheriff Seeks Funds For Shortfall

SALISBURY – County officials last week voted to reallocate $106,000 in unanticipated revenue to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.

Last week, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to appropriate $106,640 to the sheriff’s department for the purchase of uniforms, computer equipment and weapons upgrades, among other things.

Major Tod Richardson told council members the reallocation is expected to cover a budgeting shortfall that resulted from additional hires.

“We’ve been able to go from 13 openings to one opening,” he said.  “The reason for these shortages is a result of last February, when we were doing our budget, we had no idea we were going to get this many … I think we anticipated five or six in the academy for the entire fiscal year. It’s been 12 or 13.”

Of the $106,640 in unanticipated revenue proposed for the sheriff’s department, officials noted nearly $47,000 would come from confiscated funds.

“They are forfeited in court by either a plea agreement or by a judge as a result of the trial,” Richardson explained.

Councilman Bill McCain questioned if that forfeited money went to the general fund.

“My understanding is it’s supposed to go to the general fund of the county,” he said. “Now the county might turn around and allocate it to the sheriff.”

Richardson said that was his request.

“Rather than come to you and ask for contingency money, I’m asking for money straight out of unanticipated revenues,” he said.

Finance Director Pam Oland noted the council would need to recognize the unanticipated revenues in the general fund, and then allocate them to the sheriff’s office.

“What we’re asking is to recognize them and spend them on general fund accounts for the sheriff’s department,” she said.

After further discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the $106,640 in unanticipated revenue and reallocate it to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.

“What has happened is there are very specific needs that the sheriff’s office has,” Oland said. “So, we’re asking, instead of using contingency funds, let’s utilize funds that we’re getting anyways and amend the budget to allow these specific funds to help the sheriff’s office.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.