The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, a statutory government agency, is responsible for providing services to three mandated programs in Palm Beach County, Florida (PBSO.org, 2013). Those programs are Law Enforcement, Corrections Services throughout Palm Beach County’s jails, and finally Bailiff and Court staff. Palm Beach Sheriff’s office is required to respond to law enforcement calls throughout the county and all unincorporated areas of Palm Beach County. Palm Beach Sheriff’s office is also responsible for providing services to certain municipalities throughout Palm Beach County, if a contract exists between the municipality and the Sheriff’s office.
The municipality must come to a fee agreement with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office before a contract is established. The following will elaborate on the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office revenue and expenditures and the impact of the expenditures on the revenue source. The following will also elaborate on who the key players are in terms of making budget decisions and whether or not there is any influence of political and public policies on the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. Finally, recommended organizational financial analysis alternatives for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office will be researched. The Impact of the Expenditures on the Revenue Source
Palm Beach County is located in South Florida and is the largest county in square mileage in Florida at 2,268 square miles. Palm Beach County is Florida’s third largest populated county with just under 1.4 million residents (PBSO.org, 2014).The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office maintains 3,949 allocations throughout Palm Beach County and boasts 1,333 sworn law enforcement officers, 7,757 civilian support staff, 689 sworn Corrections officers and 170 sworn Court services and Bailiff; therefore a large portion of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office budget is allocated to programs.
Personal services, according to the Sheriff’s Office (2014) means this part of the budget is considered to pay employee wages and benefits. This program is divided in to thee parts, Law Enforcement, Corrections and Court Services and Bailiff, which in turns means three different expenditures. A total of $510,102,878.00 for the Sheriff’s was requested for the 2014 fiscal year in order to support the three programs. This amount is an increase of about 5.8% from the 2013 fiscal year (PBSO.org, 2014).
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office is funded through various revenues generated from Law Enforcement services, ad-valorem taxes and utility taxes. The Sheriff’s Office collects 15% of all revenues collected through adult entertainment and revenue is also received by the State of Florida for Crime Laboratory Operations. Funds are established by the Florida Crime Laboratory Council. Safety services also generate revenue for the Sheriff’s Office. The charges and fees are ultimately determined by the Statute and fee schedule approved by the Sheriff. These contracts include airport security, Private and Governmental Off-Duty permits and other law enforcement contract. The Safety Service fees make up a large portion of the Sheriff’s revenues (PBSO. org, 2014). Other revenues include fines and forfeitures, commission on coin telephones used by the county’s inmates, taxes levied on assessed properties in Palm Beach County and utility tax.
According to Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (2014), each program is divided in to three expenditures. Those expenditures are Law Enforcement, Corrections and Court Services and Bailiff. Each of the three program categories is broken down even further. Those parts are listed as Personal Services, Operating and Capital Outlay. Each variable requires funds in order to operate; for example, the Law Enforcement Program was budgeted for a total budget of $347,035,274.00 out of the $510,102,878.00.
As stated this program is further broken down in to three variables, Personal Services, Operating and Capital Outlay. A total of $276,397,453.00 is budgeted for personal services. $60,185,099 is budgeted for Operating and $10,452,722.00 is budgeted for Capital Outlay. This brings the total to $347,035,274.00 dollars budgeted for the Law Enforcement Program. This total is about 60% of the total budget for 2014. It is important to understand that 81% of the operating budget consists of wages, overtime and employee benefits. These are items which are set through collective bargaining, policy, contracts and also receive protection under to Career Service Bill (PBSO.org, 2014). Key Players Involved in Deciding on a Budget
Because the Sheriff’s Office is large and requires time to create a reasonable budget, the budgeting process begins in December of the preceding year (PBSO.org, 2014). In January, the Palm Beach Sheriff discusses the philosophy for the approaching fiscal year. The Sheriff’s Office had an established budget staff which provides an overview of the budget process and provides details regarding the upcoming budget preparation and procedures. Executives and Senior Staff conduct a series of internal reviews before the proposed budget is presented the Sheriff. The Sheriff then reviews the proposed budget and either accepts or denies the budget. Once the Sheriff approves the budget a signed copy is sent to the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioner by May 1.
The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Office of Finance Management and Budget would then schedule a number of workshops for the County’s proposed budget. It is during these workshops that modifications to the Sheriff’s budget can be presented. Budgets may be modified based on the receipt of grant funds, donations or other sources outside of the Sheriff’s adopted budget. In September, there are two public hearing scheduled during which the final budget is adopted. The budget must be adopted for October 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The Influence of Politics and Public Policies on the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Office of Finance Management and Budget is a governmental organization which oversees the Sheriff’s proposed budget on a yearly basis.
The Constitutional Officers who oversee the budget include Clerk and Comptroller Office, Tax Collector and Property Appraiser (Palm Beach County, 2014). All three entities are those of local government. These three organizations are responsible for reviewing not only the Sheriff’s budget, but all other budgets relating to cities in Palm Beach County who provide public assistance. Politics can play a huge role when considering a budget proposal. In this case, these three entities know what funding is available as they are responsible for collecting different revenues. If the money is not available to fund the entire budget request, then cuts will be made to the budget; furthermore, because budgets are able to be accessed by the public, is important to ensure that all decisions regarding the budget are ethical decisions. Financial Analysis Alternatives
In the event that there is a loss of revenue source, there are many other options the Sheriff’s Office can explore in order to obtain funding. The Sheriff’s Office, like any other police department, has many departments which are responsible for investigating certain crimes; for example, the Sheriff’s Office created a department specifically for tracking online sexual predators. The United States Department of Justice provides funding to the Sheriff’s Office for strategically targeting online predators. The Sheriff’s office would be able to continue funding this department and maintaining its multidisciplinary team to assist in the development and implementation of the strategy.
The COPS hiring Program (CHP) is dedicated to enhancing community policing by addressing the needs of a state, local or tribal law enforcement agency. The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) provides funding so that law enforcement agencies are able to hire new or career law enforcement officers. Employing more officers would increase crime prevention efforts in a given district (U.S. Department of Justice, 2014). The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) will provide up to 75% of any approved entry-level salary and fringe benefits. The officers must be hired as full-time officers for the length of grant period, which is 36 months. A minimum of 25% of the officer’s salary must be matched by the hiring agency and a maximum federal share of $125,000 per officer. Under the COPS Hiring Program, the agency is only able to hire up to 5% of the agency’s sworn police officers (U.S Department of Justice, 2014).
According to the Sheriff’s Office (2014), there are two other sources of alternative funding. Alternative funding can be obtained through forfeiture funds which are obtained from cases which assets and cash are seized and eventually released to the law enforcement agency. Forfeiture funds may come from state and federal governments and ought to be used to purchase equipment which was unable to be funded. Secondly, alternative funds may come from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office grant program. This program generates millions of dollars annually. In the past, grant funding has enabled the Sheriff’s Office to purchase patrol boats; additionally, the grant funding, the Sheriff’s Office has also purchased 245 square miles of waterway in Palm Beach County and 45 miles of shoreline (PBSO.org, 2014). Conclusion
In conclusion, The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office is large law enforcement agency within Palm Beach County which provides law enforcement, corrections and court services to Palm Beach County. The Sheriff’s office is also contracted by a number of cities within Palm Beach County to perform law enforcement duties within that area. Drafting a budget proposal can be challenging and difficult for such a large organization. Upon completing this research, one can easily see the much thought and preparation is needed to complete a budget which will allow the Sheriff’s Office to continuously provide services to those within the jurisdictions. The preceding elaborated on the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office revenue and expenditures and the impact of the expenditures on the revenue source. The preceding also elaborated on who the key players are in terms of making budget decisions and whether or not there is any influence of political and public policies on the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. Finally, the organizational financial analysis alternatives for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office were discussed.
Palm Beach County (2014). Preparing for Budgets. Retrieved from website http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/default.asp?Item=2367 PBSO.org, (2014). Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Budget. Retrieved from website http://pbso.org/index.cfm?fa=budget U.S. Department of Justice (2014). COPS Hiring Program. Retrieved from website http://www.pbcgov.com/ofmb/budget/