While money is tight, Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said the office is in decent financial condition.
“We watch our budget closely,” he said of an approximate $18 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. “We are fortunate that we stay within our budget guidelines. I stay in close contact with all of my departments and request a monthly expenditure sheet and I go over it every month. We manage the taxpayer’s dollars as well as I think it can be managed and still be able to keep good equipment and salaries. All our people work hard to keep us within our budget guidelines.”
While salaries aren’t as high as the neighboring law enforcement agencies, such as Caddo and Bossier, Sexton said deputies receive a cost-of-living raise every year.
Among the three funds, the salary fund, the general fund and Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center, the salary fund is the highest expense at about $9.2 million. Total income for the salary fund comes from a half-cent sales tax, transfers, supplemental pay, state grants, and non-revenue receipts.
Sexton’s salary is budgeted at just over $145,000, with deputies’ salaries at $2.3 million each from the general fund and from BDCC.
Supplemental pay from the state is budgeted at $203,000, with grant overtime at $78,000 and holiday pay budgeted at $73,000 from the general fund and $57,000 from BDCC.
Group insurance is expected to be about $1.5 million and retirement totals about $800,000 with retiree insurance about $320,000.
Income for the general fund comes from ad valorem taxes, federal grants, state grants, local grants, licenses and taxes, civil and criminal fees and miscellaneous income totaling about $4.6 million. For BDCC, their income is about $4.9 million, which includes civil and criminal fees, interest earnings, commissary, inmate work crews, reimbursements and miscellaneous income.
Sexton explained the parish pays a flat fee of about $90,000 per month to house parish prisoners and has not raised the rate in 12 years.
“I do it for the people of the parish so that the police jury doesn’t have to spend more money on their inmates than they have to,” he said. “So I offset it with income from the Department of Corrections, where we can put our money on roads, bridges, infrastructure, things that are more important than housing an inmate, though I still have the responsibility of taking care of our inmates.”
The sheriff’s office receives $24.39 per day per inmate to house a DOC prisoner. The income received to house prisoners takes care of all an inmate’s needs, such as housing, clothing, transportation, medical needs and feeding them.
It costs the sheriff’s office about $440,000 annually to feed the inmates, and annual operating expenses for BDCC are about $1 million. Materials and supplies, such as office supplies, fuel and ammunition are about $462,000.
They pay $6,000 per month to the Louisiana National Guard to lease the BDCC property at Camp Minden.
At BDCC, Sexton is expecting about $250,000 from capital outlay for some office equipment and automobiles. He is expecting about another $500,000 in capital outlay for acquisition of investigatory equipment, such as radios and cameras, as well as office equipment and automobiles.
The fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30.