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LEC board discusses shortfalls, smoking

By Staff | Jan 31, 2014

The Law Enforcement Center Board discussed potential shortfalls at a meeting on Monday evening at the Pierce County Courthouse.

The L.E.C. budget has incurred several expenses since the closure of thetreatment side of Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center, the biggest of which has been prisoner costs and medical fees. Had it not been for a $40,000 transfer from the county’s wireless fund, the budget would be in a nearly $28,000 shortfall.

The L.E.C. budget also had $20,000 budgeted for the costs of boarding prisoners. However, with expenses to pay, the budgeted amount would be gone by this month.

The board discussed several options for bringing in needed monies, including upping the mill levies the L.E.C. takes in from 7.75 to 10. Other options discussed included charging rent by square footage, having the city pony up more money to offset dispatch and operating costs, and bringing back drug treatment, particularly court-ordered treatment, at HACTC.

City councilman Terry Wentz presided over the meeting as acting chairman. Also in attendance were County Auditor/Treasurer Karin Fursather, Pierce County Sheriff Matt Lunde, City Auditor Dawn Hauck, Rugby Police Chief John Rose and County Commissioner Mike Christianson.

Fursather discussed financials with the board. The wireless fund started with $39,775.93 and ended up with $10,849.85 left at the end of December 2013.

The 9-1-1 fund, which funds training, officer needs, among others, had started 2013 with $18,361.60. Without a transfer of $15,000 from the county’s general fund, the 9-1-1 fund would have had a deficit of $3,956.81.

The board also discussed whether it would be possible to ban all parties using the L.E.C. and HACTC from smoking in their vehicles, which would be parked on the grounds. Currently state law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of business and public facility entrances, however Pierce County prohibits smoking on county grounds. Exceptions had been made only for corrections officers, who are allowed to smoke in their personal cars.

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