Saline County Sheriff Glenn Kochanowski (left) and Saline County Commissioner John Reynolds (right) listen as County Administrator Rita Deister talks about budget cuts Wednesday morning. (photo by Tom Dorsey / Salina Journal) | Buy Journal Photos

Department heads told to brace for cuts

By DAVID CLOUSTON Salina Journal

A projected drop in revenue of more than a million dollars in the 2010 Saline County budget has County Administrator Rita Deister warning department heads to prepare for cuts in their 2011 budgets.

Those cuts could be about 7.5 percent in the county’s general operations fund and for large departments, such as the sheriff’s office. Deister briefed the department heads at a meeting Wednesday. County Commissioner John Reynolds also was at the meeting.

“Keep in mind these are all very preliminary numbers,” Deister said.

The road and bridge department, funded by state and county funds, for 2011 is facing a 3.2 percent reduction in its $6 million-plus budget. Deister gave the department heads a list of budget targets for 2011 showing how much less money each department would receive, with cuts ranging from 2 to 7.5 percent.

The proposed cuts means services to rural residents that are already stretched thin are potentially going to be further affected after the budget is passed by the county commission in August.

“It’s already taking us 10 to 15 minutes to respond to calls,” Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said after the meeting. He asked “What do I tell people?” if response times take even longer because there are fewer deputies patrolling at any given time.

Based on a comparison of 2009 and 2010 revenue numbers, Deister said she expects a revenue decline of about 7.3 percent for 2011. That number goes higher if it’s compared to what the county actually budgeted for revenue for 2010 — pushing the decline to about 8.31 percent.

That would bring in about $1.025 million less than what’s budgeted, she said. A mill in the 2010 budget raises $524,298. The county thus would need to increase the property tax levy about 1.9 mills for 2011 to merely match this year’s budget.

More revenue

To accommodate step increases on the county’s salary schedule and the cost of health insurance and other benefits, the county will need to generate an additional $397,757, Deister said.

The cuts — “will make up for about $1 million, but we still have to worry about where we’re going to come up with the money for salaries and unexpected things, new vehicles and so forth,” she said.

“A lot of you don’t even have a single line item that amounts for what your cut is,” Deister said. In many cases, the cuts will have to come from several line items.

“Since I’ve been here I think there are a lot of departments that have not gotten any general increase except in their salaries,” Deister said. “It’s going to be a struggle, but I think we can do it if we work together.”

‘Unrealistic’ numbers

Together, the proposed cuts for the sheriff’s office, jail and the county’s juvenile center — all operated by the sheriff — total $455,301. Kochanowski called those numbers “unrealistic.”

“The only thing I can see that would come even near that would be reducing personnel,” he said. “Do I cut the safety of my officers in the jail or the juvenile center (by cutting personnel in those facilities)? I’m mandated by law to have so many people in those areas. Or do I cut the number of people patrolling the road” and tell deputies they’ll be working shifts without a fellow officer to back them up?

Kochanowski said he’s invited retired or current certified public accounts to examine his budget to make suggestions on where to trim. The budget will have to be in to county by the middle or the end of June. Given the proposed cuts, Kochanowski said he’s concerned not knowing what’s going to happen to gasoline or food costs, for instance.

“Last year, we came in $150,000 in the black. But we had no major problems in the jail and no major medical problems,” he said.

Using hybrid vehicles?

He’s also concerned about replacing department vehicles. No vehicles were placed in 2010.

“When I came here we were placing seven to 10 vehicles at a time, now we’re down to two or three,” Kochanowski said. “But I’m afraid our maintenance issues are going to build up and that’s going to go up again.”

He said the department is looking at replacing some of its vehicles with gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles for in-town use.

“But there has to be a way to finance them,” he said.

n Reporter David Clouston can be reached at 822-1403 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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Tired of it all says….
Kochanowski seems to think that he has an unlimited pot. If the County doesn’t have the money coming in – they can’t spend it Glenn. Find a way to cut 7.5% – salaries are a good place to start rather than jobs. Lots of area businesses have cut payroll. Maybe you should also quit whining in the paper and get behind your desk and make some tough decisions. Whining makes you look weak.

To B Right:
I think that truck is actually an F250. It is driven by the SPD Lieutenants (Supervisors). The got a truck to haul around extra emergency equipment (shields, riot gear, medical supplies, ammo, night vision gear, less lethal weapons, etc) for the street officers just in case they would need. That way they don’t have to drive all the way back to the station to get it. They can use it to tow things. (Believe it or not, sometimes people steal boats and campers and they need to be able to tow them away as evidence. 4 wheel drive so they can get to where they are going in bad weather. etc. There are a lots of reasons why a vehicle like that would be useful.

RobinFromDaHood says….
Well at least they are sucking a lil of the rich peoples blood now with the property tax deal. Looks like you hill residents are about to come on down and live with me in the poor hood. My ? is once you suck all you can suck from us what will you do then? File bankruptcy? I think i might run for an office because the way there are going people would be happier with somone who will at least tell them they are about to get robbed and not just send um the bill in the mail! See ya election time crooks! VOTE ROBIN FROM DA HOOD!
RobinFromThaHood says….
I got a wild idea! lets cut all programs for the poor and needy and keep all the top peoples salaries the same or even give them raises. Or hey even better yet lets blow 400 grand on a river study! Are salinans so stupid that they cant see that your people in charge cant even balance there check book? It is the reverse robin hood. You steal from the poor and keep giving to the rich. And with all the great jobs out there in salina im sure those poor people can just run right out and snatch a job when they cancel there food stamps. I wanna hear all you rich people wine about how you got robbed. Cause here pretty soon that will be the only way the middle class will be able to buy there kids food. Hope your all ready cuz i no what im gonna do when it comes down to feeding my family, and i sure am not gonna beg. Im not worried about the police either because im not drunk, i have a licence and i wont have any drugs on me when i rob you and i will do it by myself so you wont have an informant. Be watchin ill be the guy in the skee mask! P.S. If you dont want me to rob you give me a job! Or at least leave the life support programs alone, or you will reap what you sow.
Why is anyone posting on here about the city budget, expenses, taxes? This is an article about the County budget and its employees. By the way, Big Andy, the City did not raise the mill levy this year. The County did.
Big Andy says….
In these times when the working men and women of Salina are having their hours cut, being laid off, and loosing the battle to keep their heads above water, we need our city government to live within their means and NOT continue to raise our taxes! Have the city commissioners and the mayor not seen all of the homes that are up for auction! We cannot afford to be taxed anymore! We have the federal government increasing taxes, the state government increasing taxes, and now the mil levies going up! When will it end….when we are all living in government housing? When we are all slaves of the state? We need to hold ALL of our politicians accountable to keep spending down. We need to support candidates that will NOT steal our money and waste it. “Increasing our tax base,” “paying our fair share,” and “in the name of social justice,” are all words intended to hoodwink the frog into sitting in a rapidly boiling pot of water.
B Right says….
We have to face times where we have to learn to go without certain things. But we adapt. The city is no different. This entire article seems to just talk about the problem. Lets talk about the solution. The parameters are set. If these people can not find the solution than maybe we need to find better management. One area I can already point out is why was that F-350 purchased by the Salina PD and why do they drive it around like a patrol car?
To: Who Knows-Just so you KNOW, County employees have not gotten a cost of living raise for the past two years and it appears that we aren’t getting one for 2011 either. The salary raises they are talking about are the standard yearly step increases that the employees receive on their anniversary date. Meanwhile our health insurance has been going up every year….so we have been suffering just like you and everyone else.
Heres a suggestion from a 9th grade drop out from 1986 . How about the ‘government’ cut back things equivalent to the average citizen . Such as internet , cable , groceries , clothes , dance class , soccor and other sports . Keep it up , we are almost robots for those wicked folks that run this country
I think most of the comments can cover both Salina and Saline County reasonably enough..won’t the federal dollars windfall after the census go for Salina and Saline?
Who Knows says….
RAISES????? State employees dont even get paid holiday pay or overtime the are required to take comp time. I say NO RAISES for anyone. The county employees will just have to suffer with out a cost of living increase or the step increase they get EVERY YEAR.
Why?I thought the census was about reaching fifty thousand population..illegals and all.And Salina would be up for big federal bucks.Don’t tell me that money is already ‘earmarked’.
MadDad says….
People, please recongize the difference from city and county funding. As the city continues to mismanage funds they annex property for sake of sales tax. The county as a result is left with less revenue and expect to do more with less as traffic and populations increase in the rural community. Times are tough yes, but if you seen how much some of the employees of the county are suffering perhaps you would change some of your posts once you realize how much some people go without so they can serve the needs of the citizens. Far as staff and commisioners being overpaid well that certianly is up for debate and I am not saying I totally agree. For the amount of work they do and how often compared to employees breaking their backs to make it work it does not seemed balance. And we know if push comes to shove they will fire up to six employees before they ever consider taking a pay cut for sake of saving some jobs!
I have the best Idea ever says….
i got a Idea lets build a multi million dollar water park that will bring in revenu for a few months during the year.
why says….
Why do i see so many police cars parked at their homes. Make the officers pay for their gas to and from work.. I do!
crooked politicians says….
Salary increases??????Social security and disabilty has already been frozen for two years minimum…congress passed a pay increase recently for theirselves….monkey see,monkey do,and Salina is a illegal immigrant refuge city so the city can get up to fifty thousand bucks to get federal money(maybe to patch up bullet holes)That my friends is an inconvienient truth.
You say City, I say County says….
Clearly, no matter how many times this is explained, some people will never understand the difference between Saline County and the City of Salina. Judging my the majority of these posts, it’s obvious that people don’t really read these stories before firing off their same old complaints and criticisms.
disgusted taxpayer says….
It is Friday, the day that they will send out property valuation notices, they say valuations are down. This means property taxes will go down, unless they raise the mill levy in order to collect the same amount or more to cover the budget they WANT, not the buget they need.
And we all know that is
how they have done it in the past. They won’t reduce spending and live
within their means.

Well first off why are we paying county commissioners to be in the office one day a week? Second of all your worried about raises? are you kidding me? The city and the school dist. cut raises out a year ago. I would rather loose my raise than loose my job or loose a law enforcement officer. Sounds to me like someone half a brain should be able to figure that out.
I agree with cutting department heads salaries; ie: look at the positions at Community Corrections and what some of their employees are making!
John from gypsum says….
scrap the new water park the safety of the citizens and the officers is much more vital to our community
Tired of taxes…. says….
This is ridiculous! If you can’t afford something – you simply don’t spend the money for it.
Cut spending! And learn to do “without” anything not 100% NEEDED. That’s what the common American person does when we lose our funding from employment!

Oh ya? The County Commissioners make so much. Hey concerned, Maybe you should check to see what they make before you go running your mouth.
Increase taxes…you know, when I don’t have the money, I cut my expenses. I don’t buy a new car every other year-I have a beater I maintain. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to walk in to my employer and say “things are tight this year-I’m going to need to have a 10% raise-i’ll need to see that on my next paycheck” What a deal!!! I bet I woulded get laughed out of his office, and that’s exactly what we need to do with these officials. The money is no there because there are NO JOBS! Quit spending on wants and start creating places of employment to increase revenue without taking the last of my paycheck so you can replace your year old beater!!
Concerned says….
I think cutting County Commissioner salaries and benefits would be a good place to start. Talk about overpaid . . . .
Assaria Resident says….
Cut department head and executives’ salaries by 10%, that will help tremendously! Really…they make more than they need!
Lowpay and happy says….
I think they need to look at the higher paided people and see if there jobs demand that kind of pay!
TAXPAYER says says….
Taxpayer says….
Me thinks that the new tax increase for Oceans of Dumb could be better spent on keeping law enforcement funded and retaining city employee’s. At least Snyder got his way so he can shoulder the lost jobs.
Anonymous says….
so other words the recession is not over 🙁

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