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Harris County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday March 11th, 2014 :: 01:40 p.m. CDT


Sheriff's Office budget discipline pays off for taxpayers with balanced budget for third year in a row

Job 1 at the Harris County Sheriff's Office is protecting the public and job 1.1 is protecting the public's money, according to Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

So the HCSO humbly announces that it spent less than the amount budgeted by Commissioners Court in Fiscal Year 2014, which ended Feb. 28.

It was the third consecutive fiscal year in which the HCSO spent within its budget -- following annual budget over-runs in nine of the 10 previous years.

Sheriff Garcia took office in January 2009, inheriting an annual budget in which the HCSO spent almost $58 million more than it had been allotted by county government ($350 million budgeted, $407 million spent).

After Sheriff Garcia hired staffers with business backgrounds and gave them the task of stopping the flood of red ink, the HCSO narrowed the annual spending gaps and in FY 2012 "came in under budget" ($393 million budgeted, $389 million spent).

The fiscal discipline paid off again in FY 2013 and now in FY 2014, which had a $408 million budgeted and $399 million spent (pending audits and bill payments that are not expected to significantly change the total).

Under county policy, most of the savings will be returned to the HCSO as it continues to add "boots on the ground" -- more deputies on patrol in the dramatically growing unincorporated area of the county where 1.7 million live.

Some of the biggest savings have come from drastic reductions in overtime pay to staff the county jail to meet minimum inmate:staff ratios required by the state; wider use of generic prescription drugs in lieu of brand names to treat inmates; inmate rehabilitation programs that reduce repeat crimes; and management of supply contracts.

Harris County property owners like me owe taxes every year and the Sheriff's Office owes the taxpayers fiscal responsibility in return," Sheriff Garcia said. "The funding entrusted to us is not my money or the HCSO's money, it's the public's money. Nothing is more important to us than saving lives, but it's pleasing to also say we are saving millions of dollars. We plan to continue in this new fiscal year."

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Harris County Sheriff's Office
1200 Baker St
Houston, TX 77002

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 713-221-6000

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