he combined proposed Public Safety Budget for FY 2016-2017 includes the Orange County Sheriff’s office proposed funds at $216,811,950 for FY 2016-17 and the Corrections Department at $147,300,645 at FY 2016-17.
According to Bryan Nelson, County Commissioner for District 7, "Public Safety is our #1 priority and we in Orange County will continue to prioritize funding our most basic service."
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office operating budget increased 4.3% over the last year. Funding for the office comes from the General Fund. The General Fund is made up of a series of funding sources which include, property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, and revenue shared with the state among others. The cost per capita in Orange County to fund the Sheriff’s Office is approximately $255.82. This is the thirds lowest cost for law enforcement among other municipalities in Central Florida. Corrections-Law enforcement Education Fund is also a source of funding which obtains its revenue from a $2.50 and $2.00 charge assessed through court costs assessed for non-criminal traffic citations, violations of a State penal, criminal, and Orange County Statue. The estimated value of these fees for FY 2016-2017 is $325,000. This accumulated revenue from this fund is equally divided between the Sheriff’s Office and Corrections. The Sheriff’s Office uses these funds to train and educate county law enforcement officers.
The Corrections Department is also funded in large part by the General Fund. Funding for Corrections Department employee training comes from the Corrections-Law enforcement Education Fund which is shared with the Sheriff's Office. Another major source of funding for the Corrections Department includes the Inmate Welfare Fund which is made up of a variety of sources including the sales of commissary and personnel items to inmates and the collection of inmate booking and subsistence fees. These fees off-set jail cost with one-time booking fees at $6.00 and daily fees at $2.25 for FY 2016-17. The Inmate Welfare Fund is estimated at $1.1 million for FY 2016-2017. The Corrections Department utilizes these funds for a variety of operations, including, personnel services, operating expenses, capital outlay and improvement. The personal services budget is proposed at $124,564,050 for FY 2016-17. Operating Expenses are proposed at $25,740,461 for FY 2016-17. Operating expenses include ammunition, chemical munitions, range safety needs and targets for practice. Meanwhile, the Capital Outlay which is towards building materials and facility expenses as well as vehicles is proposed at $872,847. Capital Improvements is budgeted for $4,296,230 FY 2016-17. Capital Improvements will include completing improvements to Corrections facilities.
Other sources of revenue include Law Enforcement/Confiscated Property at $1,397,000 for FY 2016-17. Law Enforcement Impact Fees will budget at 48,433,250 for FY 2016-17.
Currently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office has 1145 officers’ total with the request of 16 new positions and additional officers. These new positions and officers will help OCSO keep up with the constant demands of our steadily increasing population within Orange County and keep them properly staffed at all times. Their budget for FY 2016-17 is estimated at $207.8 million. Some of OCSO capital improvement projects will include a mounted patrol site which is estimated to cost $400,000. Meanwhile, Sector V is requesting a new and improved facility due to the fact that the current facility is being leased. Also, OCSO would like to build a new Communications Center that would provide countywide back-up. Over 1.3 million calls were answered by the OCSO Communications Center in 2015 and 738,511 of those calls were 911 calls. This is proposed at $250,000 for FY 2016-17.
OCSO plans to have 600 Body Worn Cameras deployed by the end of 2016 which would be included in Operating Expenses.
According to OCSO, “Several major Capital Improvements are needed for long term sustainability. We continue to seek additional State and Federal grants to provide equipment and personnel needs”. One such grant would be the COPS Hiring Program grant. This grant provides funding for offices to hire and re-hire entry level career law enforcement officers. This type of grant lasts 3 years which would cover the first three years of a new officer’s salary. Recently, Orange County was awarded $875,000 while additional grants are being considered to create 20 deputy positions which would total to $2.5 million for the first 3 years.