Without any fanfare or discussion Wednesday, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors approved a nearly $2 million allocation to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to cover a budget overrun within the department.
The item, placed on the board's consent agenda, was approved on a unanimous 6-0 vote. Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) and Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) had not yet arrived to the meeting and Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) was absent.
In March it was brought to light that the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) had exceeded its approximately $73.5 million fiscal 2013 budget
by more than $2.2 million. Sheriff Mike Chapman requested the board appropriate an additional $1.9 million to his department to cover the bulk of the exceeding costs. Chapman has said overtime pay and a county personnel policy were the driving forces of the overrun.
The initial disclosure of the LCSO budget overrun led to stern back-and-forth between Chapman and the board, especially Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), the chairman of the board's finance committee and first supervisor to publicly bring to light the $2.3 million excess. Buona was put off not only by the overrun, but also by the fact the sheriff knew for several months his budget was heading for the red and never brought it to the board's attention.
Initially, county staff said the overrun was $2.7 million, a figure later reduced by more than $400,000 because of an accounting error.
The finance committee last month directed county staff to delve deeper in the sheriff's budget and vacancy savings policy and bring back a more detailed analysis of why the overspending was occurring. In a lengthy report, staff ultimately recommended the board approve the “budget adjustment in an amount of $1.9 million to offset vacancy savings and overtime expenditures incurred during fiscal 2013.”
While it wasn't a position the board liked to be in, the supervisors made fairly clear they would sign off on the additional allocation, considering not doing so would've jeopardized county deputies receiving their paychecks, Buona noted.
According to county staff, additional revenue in Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes and personal property taxes can be recognized and appropriated to offset the $1.9 million.
Read past coverage here:
-"Rift between sheriff, supervisors comes to the surface"
- March 27
-"‘Not so fast,’ Loudoun supervisors decide on sheriff’s budget"
- March 21
-"County likely to allocate additional $2 million to sheriff’s office"
- March 15