The Palo Alto County Sheriff brought three requests for consideration to the county's Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, May 28.
Sheriff Lynn Schultes asked the supervisors to consider raising the daily fee charged to work release inmates from $35 per day to $50. Sheriff Schultes said he believed the rate change would bring the county an additional $3,000 in revenue based on the last year's jail occupancy. In information provided by Schultes, the county realized income of $21,984 in jail fees last year and for the current fiscal year, the income has been $19,712.
Indicating that the topic had been discussed earlier, Supervisor Linus Solberg said, "I thought we left it the same because people in that state don't have a lot of funds."
Board of Supervisor Chairperson Ed Noonan said, "If it were up to me, I wouldn't charge them anything. Being in jail is bad enough."
Asking what other counties charge and being told by Schultes, $50 to $60 per day, Supervisor Craig Merrill said he thought that seemed excessive.
With a motion by Supervisor Ron Graettinger and a second by Solberg, the board voted to keep the daily rate for work release inmates in the Palo Alto County Jail at the current rate of $35 per day.
The discussion surrounding the hiring of part time deputies grew somewhat contentious when Sheriff Schultes told the board he had a need for an eight-hour per week part-time deputy position. Schultes cited RAGBRAI and county statistics as the rationale for his request. He currently has three reservists who are certified and could be added to the list of county deputies. They are his son Justin, in addition to Alex Molina and Zach Harris.
The topic of nepotism was addressed by Schultes when he stated that he knew Solberg had problem with his son being one of the county's reserve officers.
"According to state code, I can pay someone up to $600 per year without the approval of the supervisors. I am not breaking the law," said Schultes.
Schultes also pointed out that the county employs other elected official's family members. Supervisor Ed Noonan pointed to the difference being that Schultes is in charge of the department.
During the discussion Schultes called out Supervisor Solberg for other comments he has allegedly made regarding the Sheriff's departments responses to accidents and drunk driving arrests.
When Solberg asked where Schultes had heard such things, Schultes responded by saying, "People talk, Linus. We hear things."
In response, Solberg said, "Just for the record, when I was at the county attorney's office, I never opened my mouth about anybody being arrested or criticizing anybody for picking up OWI people. I don't want that to be coming out of here (board room) at all."
Noonan said he had been there and nothing like that was said.
Attempting to reach a decision regarding the need for additional personnel, Supervisor Merrill asked for clarification on the county's increased statistics. "Where are the numbers coming from? Are they from out in the country? Is it drugs? I am just curious."
Schultes said crime in the county is getting more active. He also spoke about the time search warrants take to execute and the number of arrests and calls his office is receiving.
"It's everything. It's drugs. It's accidents," said Schultes.
Schultes presented county statistics to support his need for the additional deputies. In the past two years incidents have increased 13 percent. Mental Health transports have increased 110 percent in the last year and deputy transports are up 167 percent. Also the daily population of the jail is up 50 percent.
According to Schultes, in 2012 deputies logged 312 hours of overtime. The first year Schultes was sheriff, the overtime hours were reduced to 190 hours. During that time, Schultes worked an additional 233 hours and his chief deputy worked an extra 124 hours. So far this year, 80 hours of overtime has been paid. The county's lieutenant has worked 47 extra hours, while the chief deputy has put in 52 additional hours and the sheriff, 55 hours.
"Those extra hours we don't get compensated for," said Schultes. "I feel the county is getting quite a bang for the buck."
Schultes felt the additional part time deputy would help keep overtime costs down. He was not asking for additional funding. The deputies will be paid out of his current salaries budget.
Supervisor Graettinger said he supported the request as long as the department is not adding extra hours.
The supervisors approved the request. Schulte said he will be advertising for the position as well as pulling from the reserve officers.
Schultes final item had to do with the county requiring permits for RAGBRAI vendors operating outside city limits. He left the information with the supervisors for their consideration.