Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer says his department budget has a shortfall of $504,000 for 2014.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- As one budget comes to a close and another one soon begins; Sheriff Ron Cramer is looking at how much money he will need to keep his department running.
And right now, he is at a budget shortfall of $504,000.
It is money he hopes the department will be able to get otherwise.
"The worst case scenario is we could lose six deputies and some overtime money and we would have to respond, we'd probably have to reorganize part of our patrol division with that kind of shortage," he said.
And with 19 deputies who patrol the streets that would add up to a third of the force.
He worries response times could go up by 10 to 15 minutes. He is also juggling resources, hoping to hire on an officer dedicated to dealing with forensics and new technology.
"Anything that collects data, we need an analyst, somebody well trained in that area," he said.
Now the big question - how the county board sees things as they begin hashing out the budget.
John Manydeeds, a member of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Committee, has seen how things have added up for the department this year and in the past.
"When you add in the increase for the additional workers, and the increase in healthcare costs, it's pretty much the same as it was last year, I think two years ago it was around $500,000 as well," Manydeeds said.
He says 85% to 90% of the budget is made up of salary increases.
Cramer says those are planned pay bumps designed to keep some workers from taking jobs elsewhere, thereby decreasing overtime when there is vacancies.
Manydeeds says he does not see the department cutting six deputies knowing it could put public safety at risk, but believes once the budget is scrutinized further it will ultimately pass, including the hiring-on of a forensics officer.
"All sorts of things happen between here and there, but I think it's an important position," Manydeeds said.