BY NATE TAYLOR
Facing what he portrays as a major budget crisis, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has proposed a series of changes including eliminating metal-detector screenings at the courthouse and "possible quotas" for speeding tickets.
The details are contained in a 17-page letter to the Larimer County Commissioners. Although Alderden is an elected official, the county commissioners decide how much money his office has to spend.
While the Sheriff's Office will get more money from the county's general fund in 2009 than 2008, the office's expenses are increasing at a faster rate. That means, Alderden says, he faces an 8 percent budget cut, or about $2.5 million.
"In order to meet the budgetary guidelines, the Sheriff's Office will rely heavily on revenue enhancement. Significant reductions in service will also be necessary," Alderden wrote in the newest edition of his Bull's-Eye briefing newsletter.
Among the proposals floated by Alderden:
> Capping the county jail population at 460, and dropping virtually all optional training programs for inmates.
> Cutting a patrol deputy and replacing that position with a crime analyst.
> Eliminating a half-time position for a deputy who serves eviction papers.
> Cutting funding for a private security firm to conduct screenings at the Larimer County Court-house in Fort Collins. Deputies would still patrol the building, but people entering the building would no longer be screened for weapons or illegal drugs.
"He's reached into as many small pots as possible and now he's got to go to the big pots," Larimer County Commissioner Kathay Rennels said, referring to the idea to cut courthouse security. "I can't criticize somebody with budget cuts for going to the easiest way to save money."