No decisions made on Murray County sheriff’s department

SLAYTON — The Murray County Board of commissioners decided Tuesday to take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes with proposed changes for the sheriff’s department.

The board decided not to take action on Sheriff Steve Telkamp’s proposed budget changes during Tuesday’s meeting. After the meeting, Telkamp said he wasn’t surprised.

“I shouldn’t have been surprised,” he said repeatedly. “Right now, nothing is changing, no one is getting cut. That’s what I asked for in the first place.”

The board admitted it couldn’t do anything at the present time due to union restraints on personnel having two contracts.

“We have some things pending with the union,” Board Chair James Jens said. “We should resolve them then sit down with this again when we have more (specifics).”

The board was considering five options being considered with a few changes involving estimates offered by Murray County Auditor/Treasurer Heidi Winter.

Results of the budget cuts proposed would allow the sheriff to move one office deputy from 350 hours to 2,100 hours and increase salaries for one lieutenant, one investigator and one Buffalo Ridge Task Force/Investigator.

The budget changes proposed included the dissolution of drug dog department K-9 unit) as part of the solution for the increase in salaries and other related expenses totaling a net budget change of $62,668.04.

Full-time wages for the drug dog department are currently running $58,073.60 for the regular full-time wages and an additional $7,643.10 in full-time wages for the care and maintenance of the dog. These two figures combined account for half the increase in the full-time wages desired in the ideal scenario.

Other budget changes included a reduction in vehicles to the tune of $30,000, which did not sit well with at least one commissioner.

“I don’t want an reduction in vehicles if that would leave someone driving something sub par,” Commissioner Glenn Kluis said.

He wasn’t the only one to have objections to the proposed reductions in the law enforcement budget.

Commissioner Dave Thiner was against reducing boarding for prisoners, which could have netted a $20,000 difference.

“How can you know you won’t need it?” Thiner said. “You can’t just say, ‘We aren’t going to arrest this man because of budget reductions.'”

The board consensus was a wait-and-see approach.

“It’s my understanding that we’re not going to do anything,” Commissioner Lori Gunnink said.

The other commissioners concurred.

“We are just going to let (that department) run the way it is currently running,” Jens said. “We’ll wait and see.”

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