LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders wants another $3 million so he can give his deputies a raise, but many believe that could mean a tax hike, and some county commissioners won't support it.
The starting pay for deputies is $35,485, but the agency has not
given out a pay increase in five years. That means a deputy starting in 2014 makes the same amount as those who were hired in 2010.
Channel 9 also learned police officers in five other cities in the county earn more than deputies,
and some people say that has forced deputies to quit and take jobs with departments elsewhere.
The Sheriff's Office said 10 deputies did just that last year.
"Our employees have not had raises now for five years. So now we have a five-year deputy sheriff making the exact same as a brand new deputy on his first day on the job," said Lt. John Herrell of the Sheriff's Office.
Borders is asking the Lake County Commission for a budget increase of $3.2 million to cover a pay raise, but some say before that happens the sheriff should be more specific about how he spends his money.
"Constitutional officers just have no oversight," said Vance Jochim of the Lake County Fiscal Rangers. "They have a financial audit but if you look at the county budget, he only has about two or three pages in there. Yet, he has more budget dollars than the county operations does."
This year's Sheriff's Office budget could top $52 million, which includes the extra money the sheriff said he needs to boost employee pay.
"It's hard. Times are hard right now," said Herrell. "They don't make a lot of money to begin with. Every citizen I talk to about this line of work, they all say to me, 'You all do not make enough money.'"