Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Granting More Deputies

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Sheriff Howard Smith wants more deputies.

And a federal grant may help.

You may have read this story about Stafford supervisors allowing Sheriff Charles Jett to apply for a COPS Hiring grant. A similar proposal is on the consent agenda for tomorrow night’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The competitive grants allow agencies to hire new officers to increase community policing and to prevent crime. Spotsylvania’s Sheriff’s Office wants to use the money for six new, entry-level deputies.

For three years, the grant would pay $1,271,822 for the six positions.

But in the fourth year, the county would have to pony up $475,217 for the new officers.

Also, the Sheriff’s Office is suggesting that in the second year of the grant, after the new deputies are trained, the office will create six new detective positions. The county would have to pay the difference in cost for detectives, and a few additional expenses (overtime, operations, transportation). Those are expected to be: $140,469 in the first year; $119,776 in the second; $188,541 in the third and $255,711 in the fourth.

For the first year, the Sheriff’s Office would use the money it gets from seizing assets. In the next years, the office will request more money from the county budget.

The county has already submitted part of the application, to meet deadlines. But that application could be changed if supervisors don’t agree to the proposal.

The Sheriff’s Office didn’t add any new deputies or officers in FY2010, and lost one in this fiscal year.The upcoming budget calls for three new deputies–for the new Circuit Court building.

The average Spotsylvania deputy responds to 763 calls per quarter, and the target number of calls is 600.


  • LarryG

    I think this is a good example of the trade-off between higher taxes and improved services and would like to hear Steve T’s “take” on this.

    Make no mistake. This IS ultimately a TAX INCREASE.

    Is it WARRANTED?

    What improvements will citizens receive for paying higher taxes?

    I get about $3.80 per person or about close to 8-9 dollars for your average 2.7 occupant home.

    HOw about in terms of the tax rate? how much will this add to the tax rate?

    This is often how taxes “go up”… and then a couple years later, we have a bunch of people yammering about “unwarranted” tax increases.

    My view is that EVERYTIME a de-facto tax increase is proposed – no matter the purpose – it ought to go in front of the BOS with the per family cost and the tax rate impact.

    Document it – AT THE HEARING and THEN give citizens the opportunity to get on record at the point it is approved so that later on when they talk about “years of tax increases”, we actually know what caused them and what citizens felt about them when they were originally decided.

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Larry: we call it a paper trail and is as much a valued componet part of accountability and transparency in government as hasving some future BOS telling us they don’t know where the money went. Good call on your part, but if Steve were to enter this debate he should be warned this is one of those issues where he could wind up shooting himself in the foot.

  • LarryG

    I actually seek the middle ground between those who decry any/all tax increases but never say what it is they oppose in terms of what those tax increases actually paid for

    and the folks who are just fine with paying tax increases for “better” services… but really don’t couple that with concerns about cost-effectiveness.

    I doubt seriously that folks are either side could say whether or not for a given function – like Law Enforcement – how much we are paying per capita nor how we compare to other jurisdictions per capita expenditures …

    but we also know even less about how our Law Enforcement function compares in performance to other jurisdictions.

    We don’t even really know what the primary metrics should be for comparing performance.

    I’d like to see some meat-on-the-bone candidates to show that he/she understands this and promises to work towards a system where citizens CAN be informed so they CAN decide if we pay too much, not enough, or don’t get enough.

    A Balanced Scorecard is one approach – not the only one – and getting the correct metrics for the function can be tricky but I think worthwhile.