Once again it is time for the county to budget your tax dollars for the provision of services to YOU the citizen. And once again the county is moving to limit that which is provided for your safety. It is disheartening that some of our own officials have been saying for years how filthy rich we are as a county yet they balk at basic services and safety.
In last week’s Comstock Chronicle regarding the budget the Comptroller asserts he knows better than the Sheriff how to schedule and allocate resources and provide for your safety. For the comptroller to assert staffing levels are out of line based on the level of incidents the Sheriff’s Office deals with and that 24-hour coverage may not be necessary only reflects his lack of knowledge of the issues we deal with. Our goal is to provide efficient service to our communities and adequate levels of safety for deputies.
It is likewise with vehicles. What wasn’t said in the Comptroller’s statement last week was if provided with the requested number of vehicles our overall fleet would be decreased by two. At present we are maintaining some vehicles solely because of the number of vehicles that are regularly taken out of service due to mechanical issues that put both the public and our deputies at risk.
While there may be issue with deputies picking up a vehicle on one side of the county and driving to another, this arrangement stems from concessions made with the deputies’ association under previous administrations in 2009. The 30K additional miles claimed by the Comptroller is a gross exaggeration and is more realistically just over 9K miles. The other side of this argument is that deputies are more readily available to respond to citizen’s calls upon arriving in their assigned patrol area and there has not been a single incident that has caused liability to Storey County or its citizens in the past eight or so years.
Our population has not changed much over the past 10 years but the focus on our services have. With the development of the TRIC and all the riches it brings, we have seen dramatic increases in traffic and crashes in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center that require significant time and resources. Ten years ago there were not 25,000 vehicles a day traversing USA Parkway nor were there nearly 10,000 people a day in and out of the TRIC which is a 24-hour operation, just like the Sheriff’s Office. To imply this does not impact resources is ridiculous. This is especially true when one considers how much more the Sheriff’s Office budget was in 2008-09 than it is at present.
The Comptroller cites “Incidents” as the basis for his statements. These include all things the Sheriff’s Office does both discretionary and nondiscretionary. While our incidents have held relatively steady countywide our “Calls For Service” (those things that are not discretionary) have increased by 22%. These are YOUR calls to the Sheriff’s Office that we MUST respond to. Our incidents in TRIC alone have increased by 22% over the past 10 years.
All one needs to do is review the significant increases to the county’s entire budget over the past several years, the very limited growth of the Sheriff’s Office, and then consider the recent events where the Sheriff’s Office has come under attack to see what is really going on. The alternative is that permits, buildings, and the amassing of all our supposed riches are more important to Storey County than the safety of its citizens, workforce, and visitors.
I have exercised great care in regards to spending YOUR tax dollars and will continue to do so. That does not mean there will be no increases. The Sheriff’s Office is a 24/7 operation that must be able to respond to the changing circumstances in our county. It is funded entirely by general fund tax dollars and will always be highly visible when it comes to costs unlike other departments of the county that have many special revenue funds. If you want to have a deputy patrolling your neighborhood, or able to respond when you need them, please let me or your county commissioners know. It is YOUR money and YOUR safety that is at stake. Once again, please make your voices heard.
…and this is exactly why we need a shake up. Apparently the recall margin wasn’t wide enough to really hammer home what most of us want. Had anyone else been Sheriff, the piper would be playing a different tune.