SocraticGadfly: Dallas County $17 mil shortfall – November fallout

May 22, 2008

Dallas County $17 mil shortfall – November fallout

Yes, part of the biggest budget hole in a decade is gas prices and other overhead.

But, as Lew Sterrett is a primary part of the problem:
Sheriff Lupe Valdez's overtime spending is nearly $6 million over budget this year – the largest shortfall in any single category. Her agency is projected to spend a total of $8.3 million in overtime this year, most of it generated by the jails.

A budget report said an average of 70 jail guard vacancies has contributed to the high overtime costs. Commissioners have added new positions throughout the year, and the Sheriff's Department is struggling to fill those jobs. The sheriff is hampered by the fact that there are only so many academy classes that can be held to train recruits.

There’s no way Lowell Cannady doesn’t bring this up in the sheriff’s race against Valdez.

And, while I agree that Dallas, having the lowest tax rate of any county in the state, not counting Parkland’s special taxing district, has room to bump that up, John Wiley Price’s mentioning of that certainly wasn’t said in a politics-free sense.

At the least, Price had better spell out what the next 2-4 years’ budgets, needs, plans and priorities will look like for the Sheriff’s Department if Valdez is to be re-elected.

As of right now, I think she’s fighting an uphill battle, even though the county is moving more Democratic all the time.

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