Clay Restores $1.3 Million to Sheriff's Budget | News

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Clay Restores $1.3 Million to Sheriff's Budget
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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- There's at least a partial budget battle victory for the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

After budget cut concerns were expressed by Sheriff Rick Beseler, the Clay County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to restore some of the money it cut from his budget.

In an open letter to the community last week, Beseler detailed his concerns. Here's a portion of that letter from Beseler:

"Clay County is one of the safest communities in Northeast Florida and when crimes do happen the offenders are twice as likely to be caught here than the state's average because of CCSO's 44% crime clearance rate. We can't continue to deliver this kind of top rate service, however, when adequate funding is not available. The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens; all else is secondary. I urge the Clay County Board of County Commissioners to restore adequate funding to its law enforcement agency so that the outstanding men and women of CCSO can continue to keep Clay County one of the safest in the country."

In September, the Clay County commission approved $90 million in cuts.  That included $2.5 million in cuts for the Clay County Sheriff's Office.  Sheriff Beseler said that reduction would likely result in a reduction in services and salaries.

Tuesday night, commissioners unanimously voted to restore $1.3 million to the CCSO budget.  Beseler said this still leaves him with less money than last year but there will definitely be no layoffs.

He will be looking at a possible hiring freeze.  Another option is not filling positions after employees leave due to retirement or illness.

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