Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan

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THE CONTENTS OF THIS WEB PAGE ARE:
Taxpayer Friendly Funding Option
Overview
Bait & Switch
Boone County Police Departments
Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan Components
Boone County Jail Expansions & Sheriff's Rainy Day Fund
Taxpayer UNfriendly Funding Option: 50% Local Income Tax Rate Increase
Taxpayer Uncertain Funding Option: 25% Local Income Tax Rate Increase

 

Taxpayer Friendly Funding Option

Listed below are Watchdog Indiana Taxpayer Friendly funding proposals for the Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan. The Taxpayer Friendly funding proposals are summarized next.

A. There is NO increase in the Local Income Tax rate! The most important Business Plan components are funded by using some of the annual revenue increases from the existing 1.0% Local Income Tax rate and by making prudent use of the ample cash reserves in the County Rainy Day Fund.

B. Ten more new corrections officers (jailers) are hired in 2017.

C. Hiring ten new corrections officers (jailers) in 2017 will free up the equivalent of one Merit Deputy to perform law enforcement duties each day instead of transporting inmates. The hiring of seven more new Merit Deputies will be phased in: one in 2017, one in 2018, two in 2019, two in 2020, and one in 2021. Two additional Merit Deputies can be assigned in 2017 to augment the existing two Merit Deputies working on the higher risk second shift.

D. A Crime Analyst is hired in 2017.

E. Funding is provided starting in 2017 for a contract with an outside agency to provide a Masters level therapist for 40 hours per week and a Doctors level therapist for 6 to 8 hours per week to assist jail inmates with their mental health and drug addiction needs.

F. Equipment and training are funded in 2017 for a Criminal Interdiction Team.

G. Funding is provided in 2017 to remodel the jail basement and add an office for the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division, Crime Scene Investigator, and Crime Analyst.

H. A room in the jail will be remodeled in 2017 to serve as a dedicated computer servers room.

I. One more new Courthouse Deputy and the necessary equipment will be provided in 2018 to establish a protected single-entry point to the Courthouse where persons entering the Courthouse will pass through a metal detector and all bags will be X-rayed.

J. Some lower priority Business Plan components are not funded before 2022.

The detailed Taxpayer Friendly funding proposals for the Business Plan are listed next. NOTE: A 3.0% annual increase is assumed in the cost of the Business Plan components.

Proposal #1. Transfer $171,151 from the County Health Fund cash reserves to the County General Fund. The County Health Fund received an unplanned cash windfall a couple of prior years when duplicate property tax health insurance revenue was erroneously collected and deposited. The cash reserves left in the County Health Fund after the $171,151 transfer will still total a healthy 28% of the 2016 County Health Fund operating disbursements.

Proposal #2. Use $1,079,842 from the County General Fund in 2017 to pay the new recurring annual Business Plan costs listed below. All but $49,577 of the $958,268 revenue increase from the existing 1.00% Local Income Tax is used.
$ 391,390 salaries for 10 more jailers
$ 43,840 PERF retirement for 10 more jailers
$ 29,940 FICA for 10 more jailers
$ 296,150 health insurance for 10 more jailers
$ 48,686 salary for 1 more merit deputy
$ 17,235 county pension for 1 more merit deputy
$ 3,724 FICA for 1 more merit deputy
$ 43,196 health insurance for 1 more merit deputy
$ 39,000 salary for 1 crime analyst
$ 4,368 PERF retirement for 1 crime analyst
$ 2,984 FICA for 1 crime analyst
$ 29,329 health insurance for 1 crime analyst
$ 130,000 contract for jail mental health and drug addiction treatment
$1,079,842 TOTAL 2017 recurring annual costs

Proposal #3. Use $167,400 from the County Rainy Day Fund in 2017 to pay the new non-recurring Business Plan costs listed below. The County Rainy Day Fund balance at the end of the year will be a considerable $3,589,098.
$ 37,900 equipment/uniforms for 10 more jailers
$ 8,500 bullet proof vests for 10 more jailers
$ 9,093 equipment/uniform for 1 more merit deputy
$ 48,057 equipped vehicle for 1 more merit deputy
$ 850 bullet proof vest for 1 more merit deputy
$ 10,000 criminal interdiction team equipment and training
$ 50,000 jail basement remodel
$ 3,000 jail computer servers room
$167,400 TOTAL 2017 non-recurring costs

Proposal #4. Use $369,092 of the revenue increase in the 2018 County General Fund from the existing 1.00% Local Income Tax to (a) cover the shortfall from the non-recurring revenues assigned to the prior Business Plan costs and (b) pay for the new recurring annual Business Plan costs listed below.
$ 50,147 salary for 1 more merit deputy
$ 17,752 county pension for 1 more merit deputy
$ 3,836 FICA for 1 more merit deputy
$ 44,492 health insurance for 1 more merit deputy
$ 39,176 salary for 1 more courthouse deputy
$ 4,388 PERF retirement for 1 more courthouse deputy
$ 2,997 FICA for 1 more courthouse deputy
$ 30,018 health insurance for 1 more courthouse deputy
$192,806 TOTAL 2018 recurring annual costs

Proposal #5. Use $116,020 from the County Rainy Day Fund in 2018 to pay the new non-recurring Business Plan costs listed below. The County Rainy Day Fund balance at the end of the year will be a considerable $3,473,078.
$ 9,366 equipment/uniform for 1 more merit deputy
$ 49,498 equipped vehicle for 1 more merit deputy
$ 876 bullet proof vest for 1 more merit deputy
$ 3,904 equipment/uniform for 1 more courthouse deputy
$ 876 bullet proof vest for 1 more courthouse deputy
$ 51,500 courthouse security equipment
$116,020 TOTAL 2018 non-recurring costs

Proposal #6. Use $421,003 of the revenue increase in the 2019 County General Fund from the existing 1.00% Local Income Tax to (a) cover the shortfall from the non-recurring revenues assigned to the prior Business Plan costs and (b) pay for the new recurring annual Business Plan costs listed below.
$103,303 salaries for 2 more merit deputies
$ 36,569 county pensions for 2 more merit deputies
$ 7,902 FICA for 2 more merit deputies
$ 91,654 health insurance for 2 more merit deputies
$239,428 TOTAL 2019 recurring annual costs

Proposal #7. Use $123,066 from the County Rainy Day Fund in 2019 to pay the new non-recurring Business Plan costs listed below. The County Rainy Day Fund balance at the end of the year will be a considerable $3,350,012.
$ 19,294 equipment/uniforms for 2 more merit deputies
$101,967 equipped vehicles for 2 more merit deputies
$ 1,805 bullet proof vests for 2 more merit deputies
$123,066 TOTAL 2019 non-recurring costs

Proposal #8. Use $433,633 of the revenue increase in the 2020 County General Fund from the existing 1.00% Local Income Tax to (a) cover the shortfall from the non-recurring revenues assigned to the prior Business Plan costs and (b) pay for the new recurring annual Business Plan costs listed below.
$106,402 salaries for 2 more merit deputies
$ 37,666 county pensions for 2 more merit deputies
$ 8,139 FICA for 2 more merit deputies
$ 94,404 health insurance for 2 more merit deputies
$246,611 TOTAL 2020 recurring annual costs

Proposal #9. Use $123,066 from the County Rainy Day Fund in 2020 to pay the new non-recurring Business Plan costs listed below. The County Rainy Day Fund balance at the end of the year will be a considerable $3,226,946.
$ 19,873 equipment/uniforms for 2 more merit deputies
$105,026 equipped vehicles for 2 more merit deputies
$ 1,859 bullet proof vests for 2 more merit deputies
$123,066 TOTAL 2020 non-recurring costs

Proposal #10. Use $319,638 of the revenue increase in the 2021 County General Fund from the existing 1.00% Local Income Tax to (a) cover the shortfall from the non-recurring revenues assigned to the prior Business Plan costs and (b) pay for the new recurring annual Business Plan costs listed below.
$ 54,797 salary for 1 more merit deputy
$ 19,398 county pension for 1 more merit deputy
$ 4,192 FICA for 1 more merit deputy
$ 48,618 health insurance for 1 more merit deputy
$127,005 TOTAL 2021 recurring annual costs

Proposal #11. Use $65,280 from the County Rainy Day Fund in 2021 to pay the new non-recurring Business Plan costs listed below. The County Rainy Day Fund balance at the end of the year will be a considerable $3,161,666.
$10,235 equipment/uniform for 1 more merit deputy
$54,088 equipped vehicle for 1 more merit deputy
$ 957 bullet proof vest for 1 more merit deputy
$65,280 TOTAL 2021 non-recurring costs

Proposal #12. Use the $875,611 cash balance in the County Food & Beverage Tax Fund for interfund transfers back and forth with the County General Fund so that General Fund disbursements can be made on time while waiting for property tax revenues to be deposited.

Proposal #13. Do not do fund the lower priority Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan components listed next before 2022. Sheriff Mike Nielsen may want to use his $80,000 Commissary Fund certificate of deposit to pay for (a) in-car and body cameras with video storage ($100,000), (b) two new K-9 police dogs ($40,000), (c) a security fence behind the jail “barn” ($15,000), and/or (d) information technology items ($15,000).
$48,686 salary for 1 more merit deputy
$17,235 county pension for 1 more merit deputy
$3,724 FICA for 1 more merit deputy
$43,196 health insurance for 1 more merit deputy
$9,094 equipment/uniform for 1 more merit deputy
$48,057 equipped vehicle for 1 more merit deputy
$850 bullet proof vest for 1 more merit deputy
$39,228 salary for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$4,394 PERF retirement for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$3,001 FICA for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$29,632 health insurance for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$76,070 salaries for 2 more courthouse deputies
$8,520 PERF retirement for 2 more courthouse deputies
$5,820 FICA for 2 more courthouse deputies
$58,288 health insurance for 2 more courthouse deputies
$7,580 equipment/uniforms for 2 more courthouse deputies
$1,700 bullet proof vests for 2 more courthouse deputies
$39,000 salary for 1 more crime scene investigator
$4,368 PERF retirement for 1 more crime scene investigator
$2,984 FICA for 1 more crime scene investigator
$29,329 health insurance for 1 more crime scene investigator
$70,000 Key Bank building stairway cameras with video storage
$100,000 in-car and body cameras with video storage
$40,000 purchase 2 new K-9 police dogs
$15,000 security fence behind the jail “barn”
$15,000 information technology items

 

Overview

The components of the Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan have been evaluated from a Taxpayer Friendly standpoint, and the evaluation results are posted on this web page. 

Sheriff Mike Nielsen has a web page titled "LIT Tax Proposal" that includes information about his Business Plan: see http://www.boonecountyindianasheriff.com/Default.aspx?tabid=935.

Sheriff Nielsen is touting a 50% increase in the Boone County Local Income Tax rate to implement his Business Plan. The current 1% Local Income Tax Rate would be increased up to 1.5%. Detailed information about how the Boone County Local Income Tax rate can be increased is available online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_income_tax.htm

 

Bait & Switch

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen proclaims that he needs a permanent 50% increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax to pay for his Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan. However, much of the 50% county-wide Local Income Tax increase would NOT be used to pay for new spending on public safety needs: see http://www.finplaneducation.net/bait_and_switch.htm.

 

Boone County Police Departments

Boone County taxpayers benefit if the county’s police protection is evaluated from a holistic point of view instead of individual police department “silos.” It is appropriate to consider that all seven police departments together serve each citizen in Boone County because of the mutual aid agreements between the police departments – every police department in Boone County will respond to assist an individual police department if needed. Pertinent information about all of the Boone County police departments can be found online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/boone_county_police.htm.

 

Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan Components

The costs of the Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan components are summarized as follows:
$1,366,730 Eight More Merit Deputies
$   807,720 Ten More Jailers
$   236,967 Three More Courthouse Deputies
$   130,000 Jail Mental Health Treatment
$   100,000 In-Car & Body Cameras
$     76,255 One 911 Communications Administrator
$     75,681 One More Crime Scene Investigator
$     75,681 One Crime Analyst
$     70,000 Key Bank Building Cameras
$     50,000 Courthouse Security Equipment
$     50,000 Remodel Jail Basement
$     40,000 Two New K-9
$     15,000 Miscellaneous Information Technology
$     15,000 Fenced Jail Area
$     10,000 Criminal Interdiction Team Equipment/Training
$       3,000 Jail Computer Servers Room
$3,122,034 TOTAL

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen has (1) confirmed the sixteen Business Plan components listed below, (2) provided detailed cost data for each Business Plan component, and (3) submitted written justifications explaining the importance of all but two of the sixteen Business Plan components. Watchdog Indiana will provide counterpoint information and a Taxpayer Friendly evaluation of each Business Plan component. 

1. Hire 8 more merit deputies in 2017.

COST: 
$   389,490 Salary ($48,686.30 per Deputy)
$   137,880 Merit Retirement (35.40% of Salary)
$     29,792 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$   345,568 Health Insurance (average 88.72% of Salary)
$     72,746 Uniforms ($9,093.20 per Deputy)
$   384,454 Vehicles With Equipment ($48,056.77 per Deputy)
$       6,800 Bullet Proof Vests ($850 per Deputy)
$1,366,730 TOTAL

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: The Sheriff’s Office has not hired an additional deputy since 2004. This in itself should be enough to justify the additional staff with the county growth. We have been able to replace deputies when attrition happens. There has been an increase of 24% in the population of Boone County since 2004. We simply have not kept up as other police agencies have. We are the fastest growing county in the state. Our Calls for Service is on the increase and we still remain the highest call taking agency in the county.

Our inmate population continues to increase to maximum capacity (214 inmates the week of August 15, 2016). Our deputies work hand in hand with the corrections division in daily transports to and from courts as well as correctional facilities across the state. We continue to see a rise in crime in our area and I have personally seen the rise in violent crimes in Boone County. We are strictly a reactive Law Enforcement Agency. There are two deputies a shift working a total of 424 square miles and we have no time to be in a proactive law enforcement mode. We simply are not providing the citizens of this county with the services they deserve; most importantly we are not providing our deputies with the manpower they need to increase their own personal safety when they are protecting the citizens of this county. They need to have closer backup and be able to respond to calls in a timelier manner that what we currently do.

Since we are only a reactive law enforcement agency we are not battling the drug related crimes at all. My goal is to create a Criminal Interdiction Team that focuses of reducing the criminal element coming into Boone County from surrounding counties. We need to create this multi jurisdictional team to gain that “higher” ground so that we do not fall to the criminal element. There are many more items that are in my strategic plan that will be given out publicly on September 13th at the County Council meeting or please come to one of the presentations that I will be conducting about the LIT and my Five Year Strategic Plan. I look forward to presenting them to everyone.

COUNTERPOINT: Boone County taxpayers benefit if the county’s police protection is evaluated from a holistic point of view instead of individual police department “silos.” It is appropriate to consider that all seven police departments together serve each citizen in Boone County because of the mutual aid agreements between the police departments – every police department in Boone County will respond to assist an individual police department when needed. Excluding 911 dispatchers and part-time employees in the Sheriff’s Office, listed next are the current number of employees in each of the seven Boone County police departments with the 111 full-time officers highlighted in bold blue:
Advance
= 1 Town Marshall + 2 Deputy Marshalls
Boone County Sheriff’s Office = 1 Sheriff + 27 Merit Deputies + 1 Crime Scene Investigator + 1 Courthouse Deputy + 1 Evidence Technician + 18 Jailers + 2 Cooks + 1 Executive Secretary + 2 Secretaries
Jamestown = 1 Marshall + 1 Deputy Marshall
Lebanon = 1 Police Chief + 1 Assistant Chief + 4 Detectives + 3 Captains + 3 Lieutenants + 4 Sergeants + 17 Patrolmen + 1 City Hall Security + 4 School Patrol + 1 Meter Person + 1 Administrative Assistant
Thorntown = 1 Marshall + 2 Deputy Marshalls
Whitestown = 1 Chief + 2 Detectives + 1 Captain + 10 Police Officers (full-time) + 1 Executive Assistant
Zionsville = 1 Chief + 2 Detectives + 2 Captains + 3 Lieutenants + 5 Sergeants + 12 Patrolmen II + 4 Patrolmen I + 1 Administrative Assistant

The latest available guidelines regarding the average number of full-time officers in local police departments are presented in Appendix Table 14 of the 2013 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Survey sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics within the U.S. Department of Justice: see http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd13ppp.pdf. The current Boone County population is 63,907 according to the STATS Indiana website. The average number of full-time officers in local police departments per 1,000 residents is 1.6 for populations between 50,000 and 99,999. Therefore, Boone County should have at least 103 full-time officers (63,907/1,000 X 1.6).

Conclusion #1. Boone County exceeds the national average for the number of full-time officers with 111 full-time officers serving in the seven Boone County police departments.

Listed next are five tables that contain the data used to reach the additional two conclusions listed under the tables.

Table 1. Boone County Population History
2015 = 63,344
2014 = 61,805
2013 = 60,458
2012 = 59,062
2011 = 57,884
2010 = 56,640
2009 = 55,915
2008 = 54,648
2007 = 53,778
2006 = 52,750

Table 2. Boone County Total Calls For Service History
2015 = 71,141 = 1,123 per 1,000 Citizens (10% more than the 2011-2015 average)
2014 = 56,669 = 916 per 1,000 Citizens
2013 = 62,973 = 1,042 per 1,000 Citizens
2012 = 59,489 = 1,007 per 1,000 Citizens
2011 = 58,215 = 1,006 per 1,000 Citizens
2010 = 55,691 = 983 per 1,000 Citizens
2009 = 56,019 = 1,002 per 1,000 Citizens
2008 = 55,519 = 1,016 per 1,000 Citizens
2007 = 51,320 = 954 per 1,000 Citizens
2006 = 46,360 = 879 per 1,000 Citizens

Table 3. 2015 Total Calls For Service by Boone County Police Departments
23,206 Boone County Sheriff’s Office
17,093 Lebanon Police Department
15,239 Zionsville Police Department
10,692 Whitestown Police Department
  2,453 Jamestown Police Department
  1,814 Thorntown Police Department
     644 Advance Police Department
71,141 TOTAL 2015 Calls For Service

Table 4. 2015 Self-Initiated Calls For Service by Boone County Police Departments
 
8,156 Zionsville Police Department (54% of Total Calls)
  5,647 Whitestown Police Department (53% of Total Calls)
  4,148 Boone County Sheriff’s Office (18% of Total Calls)
  3,047 Lebanon Police Department (18% of Total Calls)
  1,505 Jamestown Police Department (61% of Total Calls)
     736 Thorntown Police Department (41% of Total Calls)
     353 Advance Police Department (55% of Total Calls)
23,592 TOTAL 2015 Self-Initiated Calls For Service (33% of Total Calls)

Table 5. Number of Criminal Cases by Police Agency filed with courts by Boone County Prosecutor from January 1 to September 8, 2016
  
435 Lebanon Police Department (35% of Total)
   255 Zionsville Police Department (21% of Total)
   183 Whitestown Police Department (15% of Total)
   176 Boone County Sheriff’s Department (14% of Total)
     38 Indiana State Police District 52
     34 Boone County Prosecuting Attorney
     31 Jamestown Police Department
     29 Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force
     25 Indiana State Police Headquarters
     16 Thorntown Police Department
       6 Department of Natural Resources
       3 Advance Police Department
       2 Indiana State Police District 14
       1 Brownsburg Police Department
       1 Frankfort Police Department
       1 Hendricks County Prosecuting Attorney
       1 Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department
       1 Plainfield Police Department
1,238 TOTAL Criminal Cases

Conclusion #2. The 10% increase in 2015 above the five-year average in the number of county-wide total calls for service indicates that there has been a recent increase in criminal activity. There is significant anecdotal evidence that there has been a recent increase in the number of Boone County violent crimes – there have been more calls for service where pistols have been drawn.

Conclusion #3. The question about whether additional self-initiated calls for service will result in additional criminal arrests can be answered by comparing the Boone County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) with the Lebanon Police Department (LPD). Self-initiated calls for service in 2015 for both departments was 18% of their total calls for service, with BCSO having 4,148 self-initiated calls for service and LPD 3,047 self-initiated calls. However, there is a significant difference in the number of criminal cases filed with the courts by the Boone County Prosecutor from January 1 to September 8 of this year – LPD had 435 criminal cases filed while BCSO had only 176 criminal cases filed (less than the 255 Zionsville Police Department criminal cases and the 183 Whitestown Police Department criminal cases). Increasing the number of BCSO self-initiated calls for service by hiring more Merit Deputies is not expected to significantly increase the number of criminal cases filed by the BCSO because there is less criminal activity in the rural areas serviced by the BCSO than there is in the urban areas of Lebanon, Zionsville, and Whitestown.

Three more conclusions are listed next.

Conclusion #4. There are typically two Merit Deputies on patrol each of the three eight-hour BCSO shifts. The individual safety of these Merit Deputies is helped by the fact that all county police departments are available to respond if a Merit Deputy transmits an officer-needs-assistance call. However, there is a significant safety concern if a Merit Deputy has to respond alone to a high-risk call such as a domestic disturbance. There is consensus that the BCSO should preferably have four Merit Deputies on patrol each shift – six new Merit Deputies would need to be hired so the BCSO could have four Merit Deputies on patrol every shift.

Conclusion #5. BCSO Merit Deputies now have to help daily to transport jail inmates to and from courts and correctional facilities across the state. If ten new corrections officers (jailers) are hired in 2017, the number of inmate transfer staff members will increase from one to two. This means that the equivalent of a Merit Deputy will be freed up to perform law enforcement duties each day instead of transporting inmates. This makes it unnecessary to hire the seventh new Merit Deputy that Sheriff Nielsen is requesting.

Conclusion #6. The Merit Deputy that is freed up to perform law enforcement duties each day instead of transporting inmates can become a member of the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force or serve on a new Boone County Criminal Interdiction Team. This makes it unnecessary to hire the eighth new Merit Deputy that Sheriff Nielsen is requesting.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Hiring six new Merit Deputies in 2017 so there will be at least four Merit Deputies on patrol every shift is a medium priority need for which an excessive 0.50 percent increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not justified. Hiring two additional new Merit Deputies is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

2. Provide funding for a Criminal Interdiction Team.

COST: $10,000 for equipment and Desert Snow training.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: Since we are only a reactive law enforcement agency we are not battling the drug related crimes at all. My goal is to create a Criminal Interdiction Team that focuses on reducing the criminal element coming into Boone County from surrounding counties. We need to create this multi jurisdictional team to gain that “higher” ground so that we do not fall to the criminal element.

COUNTERPOINT: Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen reported to the Boone County Council on June 14,2016, that additional manpower is needed to form a Boone County Criminal Interdiction Team. The Criminal Interdiction Team would have members from various police departments throughout Boone County. The Criminal Interdiction Team would be “proactive” in using techniques such as field interrogation in which police officers stop persons they believe to be suspicious based on reasonable cause, question them about their activities, and sometimes search the individuals and their vehicles. The initial focus of the Criminal Interdiction Team would be to arrest heroin dealers. The Desert Snow Training Program provides the law enforcement community with legal roadside interdiction tactics to help identify major illegal drug smugglers while conducting everyday patrol responsibilities: see https://desertsnow.com/.

It is believed that there is already a sufficient number of police officers in the Zionsville Police Department and Whitestown Police Department to form a Boone County Criminal Interdiction Team whether or not the Boone County Sheriff’s Office hires any more merit deputies. The 29 law enforcement officers in the Zionsville Police Department now have 51% self-initiated calls for service, while the 14 Whitestown Police Department law enforcement officers have 56% self-initiated calls for service. What this means is that these two police departments have the time available for some of their police officers to serve on a Boone County Criminal Interdiction Team.

Lebanon Police Department Chief Tyson Warmoth has not been asked to have any of his 33 law enforcement officers serve on a Boone County Criminal Interdiction Team. The Lebanon Police Department only has 14% self-initiated calls for service. The Lebanon city budget includes one more police officer for 2017 – Chief Warmoth intends to assign a second LPD police officer to serve on the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force by mid-July 2017 (the Zionsville Police Department also has one police officer on the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force).

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: A Boone County Criminal Interdiction Team operating along the county’s southern border should help with “reducing the criminal element coming into Boone County” from Marion County. IF the leadership of Sheriff Nielsen is important in getting the Criminal Interdiction Team established, then the Sheriff should make this one of his priority tasks. Additional merit deputies in the Boone County Sheriff’s Office are not necessary to get the Criminal Interdiction Team started, particularly when taking into consideration the extended period of time it takes to hire a new merit deputy. Funding for a Criminal Interdiction Team is a higher priority NEED.

3. Hire 10 more corrections officers (jailers) in 2017.

COST: 
$391,390 Salary ($39,139 per Jailer)
$  43,840 PERF Retirement (11.20% of Salary)
$  29,940 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$296,150 Health Insurance (average 75.67% of Salary)
$  37,900 Uniforms ($3,790 per Deputy)
$    8,500 Bullet Proof Vests ($850 per Deputy)
$807,720 TOTAL

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: We have not been able to hire an additional corrections officer in the last couple of years. Currently the partnership that we have with Community Corrections provides us with three paid corrections officer’s salaries. These three positions are paid via a DOC grant. We currently are authorized for nineteen total corrections staff including our Jail Commander and Assistant Jail Commander. We have 17 staff that currently works the floor as corrections officers. These numbers are the same staffing levels that we had when we were managing 80 inmates on a daily average population (ADP). Currently we have not been under 190 inmates ADP for the last several weeks.

Our inmate population continues to grow. We have simply reached a point in our facility that we are at maximum capacity levels. We have had two staffing level surveys conducted over the last couple of years. The last survey conducted was completed on July 13th of this year. My staffing recommendation is conservative compared to the recommendation of staffing that this survey recommends we need (a PDF copy of the “BCSO CORRECTIONS STAFF SURVEY” document can be provided via an E-mail request to taxless3@comcast.net). This survey alone explains why it is critical to change the way we are doing business today.

We currently are utilizing our merit staff, including administration, to make transports on a daily basis. This is something that should be handled within the corrections division. We are already drawing form the merit staff that is shorthanded as well. This reduces the services that we provide to the citizens of this county as mentioned in my previous response.

We have been severely understaffed in the jail/corrections division for many years. We cannot provide adequate safety and security for the inmates, the staff, or our facility with the amount of staff we have working the jail today.

The lack of safety and security aspect alone justifies the need to hire additional staffing. Our staff deserves the best in tools to perform their jobs as well as having the adequate amount of shift partners to keep them safe.

There are many more items that are in my strategic plan that will be given out publicly on September 13th at the County Council meeting or please come to one of the additional presentations that I will be conducting about the LIT and my Five Year Strategic Plan. I look forward to presenting them to everyone.

COUNTERPOINT: There is no Watchdog Indiana counterpoint because Sheriff Nielsen is spot on with his request for 10 more jailers!

The Indiana County Jail Standard 210 IAC 3-1-14 provides little precise guidance regarding what is a sufficient number of jail personnel to provide adequate 24-hour supervision of inmates. The only requirements are that (a) a jail officer shall provide documented personal observation, not including observation by a monitoring device, of each inmate at least once every 60 minutes between the hours of 8:00 PM and 7:00 AM (such observation may be conducted on an irregular schedule) and (b) high risk, suicidal inmates shall be provided appropriate supervision consistent with that behavior.

Much better specific guidance regarding a sufficient number of jailers needed for our Boone County Jail is provided by the July 13, 2016, “Boone County Jail Staffing Plan” report (a PDF copy of which can be provided via E-mail request to taxless3@comcast.net). Sheriff Nielsen uses this report as justification to ask that the Boone County Council approve the following jail personnel for 2017:
  1 Jail Commander (same as today)
  1 Assistant Jail Commander (same as today)
  3 Jail Sergeants (same as today)
  1 Jail Administrator (same as today)
21 Jail Officers (9 more than today)
  2
Transport Staff (1 more than today)
29 TOTAL Jail Personnel (10 more than today)

The 29 jailers requested by Sheriff Nielsen can be judged to be sufficient to meet our jail’s needs in accordance with the July 13 report parameters because Sheriff Nielsen properly uses average comp time per jailer of 11.125 days a year instead of the excessive 24 comp time days included in the report.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: The Boone County Council must approve 10 more jailers in 2017. A total of 29 jail personnel will be sufficient to operate the facility controls, complete health and welfare checks as required, check the cell and housing area for security and safety problems, maintain the security of the building, and securely and legally admit, detain, and release those in custody. Merit deputies should no longer be needed to transport jail inmates on a daily basis. Approving 10 more jailers for 2017 is the most important component of the Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan.

4. Hire 1 communications administrator for the 911 dispatch center in 2017.

COST: 
$39,228 Salary
$  4,394 PERF Retirement (11.20% of Salary)
$  3,001 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,632 Health Insurance (average 75.54% of Salary)
$76,255 TOTAL

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: This position is strictly a proactive communications position that can also fill in for a communications officer when needed. We currently are not doing a good job in keeping up with statistical communications data, reported problems, outages, organization as a whole, scanning documents to become a paperless organization, providing feedback to the end users, etc... The communications center also has not been able to grow its staff with the growth in the county. The amount of calls that we receive on a daily basis continue to increase as the other trending that we have seen from other divisions. Our goal for next year is to create a 911 advisory board that will help lead the direction of the communications center. An ordinance to create this board will have to be enacted by the Boone County Commissioners. The board will include a representative from all public safety aspects as well as two citizen positions. The communications director and this administrative position will develop and lead this 911/communications advisory board effort. This position will be a key in the communications division in becoming more proactive from a communications perspective.

COUNTERPOINT: It seems like the existing Communications Director, who had a salary of $56,274 in 2015, should be expected to satisfactorily perform duties such as being responsible for “organization as a whole” and providing feedback to end users – as well as keeping up with statistical communications data, reported problems, and outages.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: A costly Communications Administrator should not be hired until and unless the anticipated 911 Advisory Board determines that the position of Communications Administrator is a necessity. Hiring a Communications Administrator in 2017 is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

5. Hire 3 more courthouse deputies in 2017.

COST: 
$114,105 Salary ($38,035 per Deputy)
$  12,780 PERF Retirement (11.20% of Salary)
$    8,730 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$  87,432 Health Insurance (average 76.62% of Salary)
$  11,370 Uniforms ($3,790 per Deputy)
$    2,550 Bullet Proof Vests ($850 per Deputy)
$236,967 TOTAL

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: Simply put, we cannot protect the citizens of this county visiting the courthouse daily nor can we protect the people that work in the courthouse and other county buildings the way that we should be protecting them. We currently have two courthouse deputies. Three years ago the Courthouse Security Committee created a five year courthouse security plan and presented it to the commissioners and to the county council. It was not funded.

That security plan took into consideration eventually allowing only one exit and one entry to our courthouse. It also included additional personnel to staff the one entry and one exit to the courthouse as well as a floating deputy to roam amongst our other county owned buildings. Now that we own the Key Bank building and the Prosecutors office has completed their move to the old Elks building, the safety and security of those buildings fall under my responsibility as the Sheriff as well.

Our goal would be to have the proper equipment staffed to X-Ray all bags coming into the courthouse as well as have persons go through a metal detector. By doing this we drastically reduce the opportunity for deadly weapons from coming into the courthouse. Prevention is key to successful security.

COUNTERPOINT: It is simply inaccurate to state that the Boone County Council has not funded significant Courthouse security improvements the past couple of years. A second Courthouse Deputy was hired at an annual cost of about $79,000 taking into account the Deputy’s salary, PERF retirement, FICA, Health Insurance, uniform, and bullet proof vest. The County Council spent $44,189 on hardware to upgrade the security camera system at the Courthouse, the 116 West Washington Street Annex Building, the 220 West Washington Street Annex Building, and the second floor of the Key Bank Building – the Courthouse Deputies can now view each of the cameras using a hand-held device. Electronic door lock systems were also installed at the Courthouse, at both Annex buildings, and on the second floor of the Key Bank Building at a cost of $13,879. AND the county spent at least $962,960 to purchase and renovate the 220 West Washington Street Annex Building to house the 24 employees of the Prosecutor’s Office behind a secure foyer equipped with bullet proof glass.

Details regarding the sophisticated security camera system on the second floor of the Key Bank Building illustrate the efforts that have been recently made to enhance the security of county employees. The Boone County Probation and Community Corrections departments are housed on the Key Bank Building second floor. At least 15 total cameras are on the second floor, with 4 cameras in the waiting room, 2 in the conference room, and others in the interior hallways, juvenile area, and parking lot. The two Courthouse Deputies can view each of these cameras using a hand-held device. If a Probation or Community Corrections employee is working after hours, the 911 Dispatch Center is alerted to watch the second floor cameras on their remote monitors. Offenders entering the Probation and Community Corrections departments from the waiting room must be escorted through a locked door after passing through a metal detector. The second floor elevator and fire doors are locked when the Probation and Community Corrections departments are unoccupied.

It is sad to contemplate that the rural quality of life in Boone County is being compromised to the point where a protected single-entry point to the Courthouse must be considered. However, three new Courthouse Deputies are NOT needed to operate a Courthouse single-entry point – only one new Courthouse Deputy would be sufficient. Since the Courthouse Deputies can view on a hand-held device any camera in the Courthouse and the county’s other three buildings, “a floating deputy to roam amongst our other county owned buildings” is definitely NOT needed.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: If it is decided to have a protected single-entry point to the Courthouse, providing the equipment needed for the single-entry point and hiring one more new Courthouse Deputy to operate the equipment is a medium priority need for which an excessive 0.50 percent increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not justified. Hiring two additional new Courthouse Deputies is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

6. Provide the equipment needed for enhanced Courthouse security.

COST: $50,000.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: In order to implement our security plan at the courthouse we will need to include extra cameras at the entry/exit point, one X-Ray instrument, two metal detectors, and a soft barrier rope system at this location. I believe that each one of these items is self explanatory as to why they will be needed at this one entry/exit location.

COUNTERPOINT: See the Counterpoint for the above Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan Component #5.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: If it is decided to have a protected single-entry point to the Courthouse, providing the equipment needed for the single-entry point is a medium priority need for which an excessive 0.50 percent increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not justified.

7. Install cameras in the Key Bank building.

COST: $70,000 with appropriate video storage included.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: There are no cameras currently in the stairwells of this building.

COUNTERPOINT: The Boone County Community Corrections Executive Director relates that “We have a very elaborate set of security cameras in our office (on the second floor of the Key Bank building). I am thinking we have an excess of 15 cameras but that is not an exact figure.” Community Corrections purchased the cameras when the department first moved into the building. The county completed a costly upgrade of the cameras two years ago – courthouse deputies can now view each of the cameras on a hand-held device.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Putting cameras in the stairwells of the Key Bank building is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT. The minuscule improvement in building security does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

8. Hire 1 more crime scene investigator in 2017.

COST: 
$39,000 Salary
$  4,368 PERF Retirement (11.20% of Salary)
$  2,984 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,329 Health Insurance (average 75.20% of Salary)
$75,681 TOTAL

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: The additional Crime Scene Investigator is to augment current staffing within the investigations division.

The need is based on current and projected workload and the need to expand technical capability within the BCSO. With a single CSI, we have no redundancy. That single individual must respond to any and all requests for evidence collection from both BCSO and other law enforcement agencies within the county. When any question on how, what or how to collect evidence arises they are engaged to either go to the scene or provide instruction to the officer at the location (On Call 7X24).

This individual is also tasked as the single CSI assigned to both the A&B FACT team and is part of the Homicide task force (On Call 7X24).

This individual is responsible for all Prosecutors requests for lab analysis including preparation and all documentation necessary for secondary lab examination, retrieval and presentation of all tangible or digital evidence for court including depositions or testimony.

This position currently also supports the Enforcement division for technology needs, asset tracking, trouble shooting software & hardware on a daily basis (On Call 7X24).

This position works with our county IT organization in planning, procuring and validation of new IT assets for officers both in the office and vehicle.

This position is also responsible for the evaluation of new technologies for improved performance or new capabilities.

All these responsibilities are in addition to execution of the normal workload. With the future expansion of additional officers working, using proactive policing, the work load will continue to escalate.

This does not cover any special projects assigned to this position.

Short answer - Workload exceeds capacity and the retention of staff for a position will become very problematic if this is not addressed.

COUNTERPOINT: The two comments listed next indicate that the other Boone County police agencies have their own evidence technicians and make only periodic use of the Sheriff’s current Crime Scene Investigator to help collect evidence or answer questions on how to collect evidence – and that assistance is also provided from time-to-time to the Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigator by the other police agencies.

Lebanon Police Department Chief Tyson Warmoth: “We have our own techs. However, each department relies on other department techs if ours are unavailable. If it is a major crime, BCSO and LPD techs will work together as a team to make sure all bases are covered.”

Whitestown Police Department Chief Dennis Anderson: “Yes, WMPD from time to time will utilize the Evidence Tech's of both the BCSD and those of the ZPD during major case events. In turn WMPD will assist any of the other agencies within Boone County who may require assistance on large cases such as; death or homicide investigations for example. Or a very large or multiple crime scene case, or a case that has a large amount of evidence requiring processing and or, large evidence items that require secure storage. I believe we all utilize the BCSD for extra large item evidence storage at this time. As it stands right now, during major case events anywhere in the county, agencies will collectively join all of the available resources to complete the task at hand. WMPD has two detectives who perform our daily E.T. duties.”

The relative number of criminal cases handled by the Boone County Sheriff’s Office do not justify the Sheriff wanting to hire a second Crime Scene Investigator. Listed next are the number of criminal cases submitted by various police agencies that were filed with the courts by the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office from January 1, 2016, to September 8, 2016:
   435 Lebanon Police Department (35% of Total)
   255 Zionsville Police Department (21% of Total)
   183 Whitestown Police Department (15% of Total)
   176 Boone County Sheriff’s Department (14% of Total)
    
38 Indiana State Police District 52
     34 Boone County Prosecuting Attorney
     31 Jamestown Police Department
     29 Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force
     25 Indiana State Police Headquarters
     16 Thorntown Police Department
       6 Department of Natural Resources
       3 Advance Police Department
       2 Indiana State Police District 14
       1 Brownsburg Police Department
       1 Frankfort Police Department
       1 Hendricks County Prosecuting Attorney
       1 Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department
       1 Plainfield Police Department
1,238 TOTAL Criminal Cases

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: There is good cross-agency cooperation in Boone County if the Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigator or a police department evidence technician is not available to process the evidence at a crime scene. The relative number of criminal cases handled by the Boone County Sheriff’s Office do not justify more than one Crime Scene Investigator. IN ADDITION, the Boone County Council approved a part time evidence technician for the Sheriff's office in the 2016 budget, and this new employee should help the Crime Scene Investigator perform his duties. Hiring one more Crime Scene Investigator for the Sheriff’s Office is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

9. Hire 1 crime analyst in 2017.

COST: 
$39,000 Salary
$  4,368 PERF Retirement (11.20% of Salary)
$  2,984 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,329 Health Insurance (average 75.20% of Salary)
$75,681 TOTAL

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: The position of Crime Analyst is part of the strategy direction for moving to a data a driven police model or Intelligence Led Policing with the incorporation of predictive analytics based on daily calls in conjunction with regional crime trends. This includes:

1. Finding Series, Patterns, Trends, and Hot Spots as They Happen. Crime analysts review all police reports every day with the goal of identifying patterns as they emerge.

2. Researching and Analyzing Long-Term Problems. Crime analysis isn’t just about immediate patterns and series: analysts also look at the long-term problems that every police department faces.

3. Providing Information on Demand. Extract data from records systems, ask questions of it, and turn it into useful information for all divisions.

4. Developing and Linking Local Intelligence. Know when local information or intelligence fits with state, national, or international intelligence.

5. Be a conduit to the public on emerging activity providing local awareness to crime trends and impact. Post analyses, statistics, and charts on your web site and in printed publications to convey that we are on proactive in enforcement.

6. This position will responsible for all statistical data for all areas and divisions within the BCSO.

They will also be responsible for coordination of investigation assigned cases, prosecutor’s office court dates, filing of documentation and case close check list and scanning/achieving of all case documentation.

COUNTERPOINT: Information about the job of a Crime Analyst can be found online at http://www.iaca.net/dc_analyst_role.asp. It is hoped that a Crime Analyst in the Sheriff’s office would regularly share reports with other Boone County law enforcement agencies to help identify crime trends.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: A conscientious Crime Analyst could augment the observations of police agency patrol officers to help prevent Boone County crimes. Hiring a Crime Analyst in 2017 is a medium priority need for which an excessive 0.50 percent increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not justified.

10. Remodel the jail basement area for the Criminal Investigations Division, crime scene investigator, and crime analyst.

COST: $50,000.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: (See the Business Plan components #8 and #9 above.)

COUNTERPOINT: A segregated professional working environment might help the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division, Crime Scene Investigator, and Crime Analyst be more effective.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Remodeling the jail basement area is a medium priority need for which an excessive 0.50 percent increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not justified.

11. Improve mental health and drug addiction treatment options within the jail.

COST: $130,000 per contract with outside agency. This is an estimated cost to provide a Masters level therapist for 40 hours per week and a Doctors level therapist for 6 to 8 hours per week.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: This is not just about drug treatment options. Mental health and Drug addiction are intertwined. Currently we are not giving our inmates with mental health problems any form of proactive treatment within our facility. There are inmates within our jail that are suffering from a mental illness and should not be incarcerated. We try to work with the prosecutor’s office and courts to get these inmates released from our facility and that does not always work. There are also very few locations that will accept an incarcerated inmate within a mental health treatment facility. They do not have secure lock down capability.

My belief and that of the mental health professionals that I have spoken with feel that we can help those suffering from this disease each day within our facility. This treatment will allow the transition from incarceration to society much more tolerable. It will increase the chance that these inmates suffering from this disease can integrate back into society much easier than without treatment while incarcerated. If a local mental health provider is used it will also allow the transition to continue care once they are released.

It is also a fact that the majority of our inmates are here because of drugs for some reason. We currently have a great partnership with our Community Corrections and probation. Our counselors that we provide our inmates are beyond reproach in my opinion. We offer great services including drug counseling, anger management, HSE, just to name a few.

In order for us to get a handle on the opiate issues and methamphetamine issues we are seeing in Boone County, we need to start the process inside our facility. I do not want to see these folks back in our facility. We need to invest in our future so that these inmates do not become a statistic or end up back in the Boone County Jail.

COUNTERPOINT: The Bureau of Mental Health Promotion and Addiction Prevention within the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction should verify that this Business Plan component is an evidence-based initiative that serves to prevent and reduce substance abuse and mental illness, reduce the negative impact of substance abuse and mental illness, and promote overall behavioral health: see http://www.in.gov/fssa/dmha/4484.htm#.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Assuming this Business Plan component is sufficiently evidence-based, a contract with a qualified outside agency to improve jail mental health and drug addiction treatment options is a higher priority NEED. Selecting a qualified outside agency should be a joint decision of the Sheriff, County Judges, Prosecutor, Community Corrections, Health Department, and County Commissioners.

12. Include in-car cameras and body cameras in the Information Technology budget.

COST: $100,000 which included the proper amount of server storage.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: The question of trust of the "General Public" or the trust of my staff of the public we serve is not the issue. The issue comes into perspective when some people, who have less than honest intentions, make unfounded accusations as a method for personal gain or political/social agenda. This is the case in the enforcement division as well as the corrections division. Currently we record every transmission, voice and data, in our communication division as a protection from liability and accusations. What is the difference with cameras in these other divisions?

We also find ourselves in a very litigious society where hyper sensitivity to interactions between law enforcement can be misconstrued, misrepresented and have devastating consequences as seen in multiple metropolitan areas.

These 2 aspects of today’s environment alone have driven the need for Body Cameras as we now live in a “Trust but Verify” operational stance. Where an accusation is made or a significant event transpires we need the ability to provide the public with a clear and accurate response that is direct and without reproach.

The faster we can fully expose all the facts in their totality, where a body camera provides an unedited sequence of events, the faster we can defuse the situation or take the appropriate action with that staff member if necessary.

We never want to become one of many communities that have been unduly accused of something and then mayhem transpired because there was no way to show what actually happened.

In addition to these rationales we also have the advent of expectations of the public when engaged in the judicial system both as a suspect or a juror that all events will be in high definition and ready for review during the legal proceedings. In many ways this expectation and the use of Body cameras has replaced the still photo or audio tapes of the past. For a prosecutor to be able to make his case or convince a suspect to work out a plea agreement shows that the advent of digital evidence is a significant factor in conviction.

With all that said, I personally have no desire for body cameras and I wish there was an alternative but I am all too aware of the legal liability we are exposed to without the adoption of this technology, strength of digital evidence in court shows us how body cameras have become a public mandate.

Again we live in a world that demands transparency and the use of digital devices has become the standard to meet those expectations.

COUNTERPOINT: In-car cameras and body cameras might be needed if (a) the county population does not trust the Sheriff’s office, (b) the Sheriff and his deputies do not trust the county population, or (c) the Sheriff believes that some of his deputies are not performing their jobs in a professional manner (particularly in situations where deadly force might become necessary). There is no indication that there is a lack of trust between the county population and the Sheriff’s office, and it appears that the Sheriff and his deputies trust the county population. There is no public evidence that Sheriff deputies are not performing their jobs in a professional manner.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: In addition to the hardware costs for in-car cameras and body cameras, digital storage costs are a major concern for the videos from in-car cameras and body cameras because an Indiana law requires police departments to hold videos for 190 days. Further expense would be necessary for software to obscure released video footage and the labor to obscure the video footage - Indiana law requires that released video footage obscure an individual's death or dead body, acts of severe violence against any individual who is clearly visible and that result in serious bodily injury, serious bodily injury, nudity, an individual reasonably believed to be younger than 18, and a confidential informant or an undercover law enforcement officer. Also, the limited perspectives provided by in-car camera and body camera videos sometime provide a misleading image of what has actually taken place. In the absence of trust issues and concerns about the professionalism of Sheriff’s deputies, in-car cameras and body cameras seem to fall into the category of a WANT instead of a NEED. At this time, the minimal Boone County benefits from providing in-car cameras and body cameras do not justify a Local Income Tax increase.

13. Purchase two new K-9 (one per shift).

COST: $40,000.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: Sheriff Nielsen has not submitted written justifications explaining the importance of this Business Plan component. Since the Sheriff’s office has one K-9 police dog now, it is assumed that the Sheriff wants two more K-9 police dogs so he can have one K-9 police dog per shift.

COUNTERPOINT: K-9 Police dog duties include searching for drugs and explosives, searching for lost people, looking for crime scene evidence, and protecting their handlers. In addition to the Sheriff’s office, the Lebanon Police Department and the Zionsville Police Department also now have one K-9 police dog.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: In the absence of detailed justifications from Sheriff Nielsen, three K-9 police dogs county-wide appear to be sufficient. Purchasing two new K-9 police dogs for the Sheriff’s Office is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

14. Provide a fenced in area behind the "barn."

COST: $15,000.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: Vehicles from fatal crashes or evidence can be secured in this area. A camera was installed last year.

COUNTERPOINT: The “barn” is located behind the Boone County Jail, which is hardly a high-crime area!

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Location behind the Boone County Jail, together with the presence of a camera, provide adequate security for vehicles from fatal crashes and other evidence. Providing a fenced in area behind the “barn” is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

15. Remodel a room in the jail for computer servers storage.

COST: $3,000.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: IT will be moving all of our servers to a dedicated server room.

COUNTERPOINT: A well-designed dedicated server room should increase data security, control server overheating, have fire safety measures in place, contain server noise, and make it easier to perform maintenance and repairs. It is assumed that a backup system and data will be located in a separate location in case of a fire, flood, or other disaster.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Remodeling a room in the jail to be a dedicated server room is a medium priority need for which an excessive 0.50 percent increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not justified.

16. Provide needed items related to information technology.

COST: $15,000.

SHERIFF JUSTIFICATION: Sheriff Nielsen has not submitted written justifications explaining the importance of this Business Plan component.

COUNTERPOINT: Perhaps some of the Sheriff’s Business Plan components require specialized computer software and/or hardware – it is not understood why these items cannot be included the county’s 2017 information technology budget.

TAXPAYER FRIENDLY EVALUATION: Funding to provide unjustified items related to information technology is a lower priority nice-to-have WANT that does not justify an increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.

 

Boone County Jail Expansions & Sheriff's Rainy Day Fund

The Sheriff has become sensitive when challenged why he is selling a LIT increase that will provide twice as much revenue as what he needs for his originally announced Business Plan. In response, he has recently proposed two poorly justified and Taxpayer UNfriendly additions to his Business Plan – (1) setting aside $100,000 every year for a Sheriff’s Rainy Day Fund and (2) setting aside $500,000 every year for future Boone County Jail expansions.

The Sheriff wants $100,000 from the excessive 50% LIT increase to be allocated yearly to a Sheriff’s Rainy Day Fund. The Sheriff would apparently use his special Rainy Day Fund to pay for initiatives not included his annual budgets – in other words, the Sheriff could add to his budgeted spending WITHOUT the approval of the Boone County Council. It is poor public policy, and Taxpayer UNfriendly, for the Sheriff – and any other elected or hired county official – to be able to spend any county tax dollars without the approval of the Boone County Council. It is Taxpayer Friendly for every county tax dollar that is spent to be approved by the Boone County Council through the budget process or the additional appropriation procedure.

The Sheriff also wants $500,000 set aside every year from the excessive 50% LIT increase to save for future Boone County Jail expansions. The May 29, 2015, “Boone County Jail Feasibility Study” by DLZ predicts that two jail expansions will be needed at some point between 2020 and 2027. One Jail expansion costing as much as $1,300,000 would add space for a vehicle sallyport and juvenile holding. Another Jail expansion costing as much as $9,100,000 would add space for 128 inmate beds, indoor recreation, outdoor recreation, a laundry, program classrooms, satellite control, and medical facilities. Note that setting aside $500,000 every year until 2027 would save a total of $5.0 million for the jail expansions, less than half of the $10.4 million total cost. A bond issue will be necessary to complete the jail expansions with or without the annual $500,000 set asides from the excessive 50% LIT increase.

It is Taxpayer Friendly to use bond issues to pay for costly capital projects when they are properly structured to use existing revenue sources to make the debt payments without tax increases. It is wastefully Taxpayer UNfriendly to use excessive tax increases to save a relatively small amount of money on bond interest and expenses – which is exactly what the Sheriff is proposing with his $500,000 set asides for future Boone County Jail expansions.

The $600,000 from the excessive 50% LIT increase that the Sheriff wants to set aside each year for an unwise Sheriff’s Rainy Day Fund and for future Boone County Jail expansions could be spent on current county needs. Spending $600,000 on county NEEDS such as the summer road program would help avoid triggering tax increases such as a county-wide Wheel Tax. The Sheriff’s Taxpayer UNfriendly uses of the $600,000 set asides not only would be the result of an excessive county-wide 50% LIT increase, but would also unnecessarily trigger a regressive county-wide Wheel Tax. Is there any unneeded tax increase that the Sheriff does not support? The future Boone County Jail expansions can be paid for using bond issues that are properly structured to use existing revenue sources without tax increases.

 

Taxpayer UNfriendly Funding Option: 50% Local Income Tax Rate Increase

Why is Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen selling a Local Income Tax rate increase that is twice what he needs for his entire Business Plan?

Please send an E-mail to taxless3@comcast.net to receive a Word copy of the "legal language" of the tax-increasing Resolution that is being championed by Sheriff Nielsen. Sheriff Nielsen is touting a 50% increase in the Local Income Tax rate for "public safety."

The Sheriff’s desired 2017 budget to pay for his Business Plan totals $7,994,106. The total budget for the Sheriff’s Office in 2016 was $5,965,264. Therefore, the Sheriff wants $2,028,842 to pay for NEW spending on his Business Plan public safety needs in 2017. These data details are posted online at http://www.boonecountyindianasheriff.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=X1dvPspeQFM%3d&tabid=935&mid=2362.

Listed next are the extra revenues that would result from imposing a 25% Local Income Tax rate increase that is allocated to public safety:
$2,274,316 Boone County
$1,944,179 Zionsville
$1,234,812 Lebanon
$   832,254 Whitestown
$     39,941 Thorntown
$     22,932 Jamestown
$     21,758 Advance
$       9,681 Ulen
$6,379,873 TOTAL

Listed next are the excessive revenues that would result from imposing the 50% Local Income Tax rate increase that is proposed by Sheriff Nielsen:
$  4,548,632 Boone County ($2,519,790 more than the $2,028,842 Business Plan new spending)
$  3,888,358 Zionsville
$  2,469,624 Lebanon
$  1,664,508 Whitestown
$       79,882 Thorntown
$       45,864 Jamestown
$       43,516 Advance
$       19,362 Ulen
$12,759,746 TOTAL

All of the $4,548,632 revenue from the 50% Local Income Tax increase – together with other tax dollars – would be used to fund Boone County's 2017 budget for the Sheriff's Office. However, the revenue from the 50% Local Income Tax increase in 2017 would replace other tax dollars that  Boone County would have otherwise spent on the Sheriff's Office – AND these replaced tax dollars would be available for spending by the Boone County Council on who knows what! The $2,519,790 amount of the 2017 replaced tax dollars that would be available for non-public safety spending by the Boone County Council is computed by subtracting from the $ 4,548,632 revenue generated by the 50% Local Income Tax increase the $2,028,842 NEW Business Plan spending.

No one believes that the $2.5 million in replaced tax dollars will be used by the Boone County Council to lower property tax rates. By unnecessarily increasing the Local Income Tax rate by 50% instead of the 25% needed to pay for the Sheriff’s Business Plan, the Boone County Council would have $2.5 million in excessive taxes to spend on who knows what.

There is one very costly non-public safety project that has received little attention – the Ronald Reagan Parkway. The Ronald Reagan Parkway will be extended 9.8 miles from County Road 600 North in Hendricks County to I-65 Exit 133 in Boone County. Of the 9.8 miles of roadway in the Ronald Reagan Parkway Project, 46% is in Boone County and 54% in Hendricks County. This four-lane Project with a 115-foot wide right-of-way will start in Hendricks County and mostly go through farm land east of State Road 267 in Boone County, Zionsville, and Whitestown. The Project is being jointly managed by the Boone County Commissioners and the Hendricks County Commissioners through an interlocal agreement. Additional details regarding the Project’s description, cost, interlocal agreement, and request for qualifications can be found online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/ronald_reagan_parkway.htm.

The estimated cost of the Ronald Reagan Parkway Project is at least $75 million. Boone County will pay 46%, or $34.5 million, of this $75 million estimated total Project cost - Hendricks County will pay 54%, or $40.5 million. The stated goal of the Boone County and Hendricks County Commissioners is to complete this Project in just 5 years! It is anticipated that State and Federal funding options will be limited if the Project is rushed to completion in such a short period of time. It is likely that local funds will have to cover up to 60% of the total cost it the Project is finished in only 5 years. This means that Boone County taxpayers would have to shell out $4.14 million in local tax dollars each year from 2017 through 2021 to cover 60% of Boone County's $34.5 million share of the Project's cost ($34.5 million times 0.60 divided by 5 years).

Some developer-friendly local elected officials have touted the Ronald Reagan Parkway Project as a “great economic driver.” Most development adjacent to the Parkway will be similar to what is popping up along the stretch of Whitestown Parkway (old State Road 334) between I-65 and Veterans Drive (County Road 700 East). There would be convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, big box retailers, strip malls, motels, and apartment buildings – none of whom hire many employees at a Get-Ahead Wage of at least $20 an hour with full benefits.

Who wants to guess that the developer-friendly local elected officials who want to fund the sprawl-increasing Ronald Reagan Parkway Project are drooling at the opportunity for a back-door local tax increase to pay for their boondoggle? Boone County, Zionsville, and Whitestown could take their substantial extra dollars that would not be spent on public safety from the excessive 50% Local Income Tax rate increase to pay the $4.14 million local tax dollars needed annually to rush the Project to completion in only five years. Even if you think the Ronald Reagan Parkway Project is a great opportunity, you should expect our local elected public servants to be honest and publicly state exactly what non-public safety projects would be paid for by the Taxpayer UNfriendly 50% increase in the Local Income Tax rate.

Sheriff Nielsen is quoted in the August 19,2016, Lebanon Reporter as saying, “This isn’t just about the sheriff’s office, it’s about how we take care of other departments.” This same Lebanon Reporter story states that “Umbaugh & Associates presented a financial analysis of the county’s funding situation and warned the county would be $2.94 million in the red if it spent this year’s entire appropriated budget.” A review of the accuracy of the Umbaugh report that was presented to the Boone County Council on August 9 reveals that other county departments do NOT need the extra revenue from an excessive a 50% Local Income Tax rate increase.

The cash flows in the county’s General Fund and COIT Distributive Shares Fund must be combined to determine if the county has a traditional “structural budget deficit” and is outspending its available annual revenues. The Umbaugh Report projects combined structural budget deficits of $921,055 in 2016; $870,825 in 2017; and $1,163,361 in 2018. The combined cash reserves would supposedly decrease from 20.48% of total annual operating disbursements at the end of 2015 to 3.39% at the end of 2018. There is just one thing wrong about these conclusions – they are based on cynical manipulative omissions in the Umbaugh report that are intended to falsely justify a Local Income Tax rate increase.

Listed next is the recent history of the portion of the current 1.00% County Option Income Tax (COIT) revenue that the county receives to meet its needs:
2013 – $7,060,261 Actual
2014 – $7,425,289 Actual (5.17% annual increase)
2015 – $7,579,367 Actual (2.08% annual increase)
2016 – $8,034,367 Actual (6.00% annual increase)
2017 – $8,992,635 ACTUAL (11.93 % annual increase)
2018 – $9,607,731 Estimated (6.84% average annual increase since 2013)

The Umbaugh report only includes estimated county revenues from the current 1.00% COIT of $8,034,367 in 2017 ($958,268 less than the actual amount of $8,992,635) and $8,034,367 in 2018 ($1,573,364 less than the estimated amount of $9,607,731). The state released information on August 1 revealing the county’s ACTUAL 2017 COIT amount will be $8,992,635, but the August 9 Umbaugh report dishonestly did not include the $958,268 extra COIT revenue increase that the county will receive in 2017 – this is despicable at a time when a few elected officials have apparently put Sheriff Nielsen out front to support an excessive 0.50 percent Local Income Tax rate increase under the guise that the county budget is “heading toward the red.”

The financial health of the county is a lot better if the honest 2017 and 2018 revenue increases from the existing 1.00% COIT are inserted into the misleading Umbaugh report. The county would have a 2017 combined structural budget surplus of $87,443. The 2018 combined structural budget deficit of $548,265 is substantially less than the $1,163,361 deficit included in the misleading Umbaugh report. The combined cash reserves would decrease from 20.48% of total annual operating disbursements at the end of 2015 to 15.23% at the end of 2017 and to 11.85% at the end of 2018 – the misleading Umbaugh report has only a 3.39% cash reserve at the end of 2018.

The misleading Umbaugh report does not include the county’s Food & Beverage Tax Fund. Use of the county’s Food & Beverage Tax Fund the past couple of years is summarized as follows:
$   743,025 Cash Balance 01/01/2015
+   616,837 Actual Receipts 2015
$1,359,862 Subtotal
-    528,423 Disbursements 2015
$   831,439 Actual Cash Balance 12/31/2015
+   700,172 Estimated Receipts 2016
$1,531,611 Subtotal
-   656,000 Budgeted Disbursements 2016
$  875,611 Subtotal
-             0 Additional Requests 2016 through 08/09/2016
$ 875,611 Estimated Cash Balance 12/31/2016

It is prudent for the county’s combined General and COIT Distributive Shares Fund to have cash reserves that are 15% of total annual operating disbursements. The combined fund needs $586,837 more cash to have a 15% cash reserve at the end of 2018. IF the county does not spend more than it receives from its Food & Beverage Tax Fund in 2017 and 2018, the $875,000 cash balance in the county’s Food & Beverage Tax Fund can be used for interfund transfers back and forth with the combined fund so that combined fund disbursements can be made on time while waiting for property tax revenues to be deposited.

Part of the answer to the key question - why is Sheriff Nielsen selling a Local Income Tax rate increase that would generate $1.4 million more revenue than he needs for his entire Business Plan - is included in the following statement from an E-mail sent by Sheriff Nielsen on August 29, 2016: “The 0.5% was a mutually agreed upon rate from the executive team representing the major municipalities and the county.”

Concerned citizens might wonder who is this “executive team” and just when – and why – did they decide to cower behind the Boone County Sheriff’s badge and let Sheriff Nielsen emotionally and incorrectly tout the entire 0.50 percent Local Income Tax rate increase as being necessary to meet public safety needs.

Sheriff Nielsen hosted a closed door meeting on July 13 at the Zionsville Town Hall that was attended by Mayor Tim Haak (Zionsville), Chief Vangorder (Zionsville), Mayor Matt Gentry (Lebanon), Rob Schein (Lebanon City Attorney), Dax Norton (Whitestown), Bob Clutter (County Attorney), Steve Jacob (County Council), Tom Santelli (County Council), David Rodgers (County Council), Marc Applegate (County Commissioner), and Paige Sansone (Umbaugh). Eric Miller (Whitestown Town Council) could not attend. At least two more of these “executive team” meetings have been held behind closed doors.

Lebanon Mayor Gentry announced at an August 25 budget workshop of the Lebanon City Council that they may need to prepare two versions of the 2017 Lebanon budget because the County Council and Zionsville Town Council will approve a county-wide 50% LIT increase.

Some may very well conclude that it is unethical for a secretive “executive team” to meet behind closed doors for the purpose of reaching consensus regarding how to manipulate an excessive increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax rate.excessively increasing the Local Income Tax rate by 50%. 

Sheriff Nielsen has shown his integrity by openly revealing in great detail why he wants a Local Income Tax rate increase to pay for his Business Plan. The Boone County Council and Zionsville Town Council members are challenged to publicly reveal all the details of how much they plan to spend on non-public safety projects from the windfalls they would receive by excessively increasing the Local Income Tax rate by 50%. They should not be afraid of public scrutiny to evaluate if their spending intentions sufficiently address needs rather than wants to justify a large county-wide tax increase. It is not ethical to have Sheriff Nielsen sell the 50% increase in the Local Income Tax rate without revealing what non-public safety projects would be funded by the portion of the tax increase not needed for public safety. Also, it is readily apparent that the excessive 50% increase in the Local Income Tax rate is not really needed to address the fake county fiscal shortcomings in the misleading Umbaugh report. Finally, it is not right for this significant tax increase to be pre-arranged by a secretive “executive team” without information being freely shared with the public.

 

Taxpayer Uncertain Funding Option: 25% Local Income Tax Rate Increase

It would be Taxpayer Uncertain to increase the county-wide Local Income Tax rate by 25% or less. A Local Income Tax rate increase that is no more than 25% would satisfactorily fund the Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan without generating unneeded windfall tax dollars.

Why is Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen selling a 50% Local Income Tax rate increase when all he would need is a 25% increase to implement his entire Business Plan?

Sheriff Nielsen has provided updated information regarding what the county would pay in salaries, retirement benefits, FICA, and health insurance for the 24 new employees he seeks in his expansive Business Plan. The county pays into a special pension plan for Merit Deputies, while other employees in the Sheriff’s office participate in the state’s Public Employee Retirement Fund (PERF). FICA is the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax, of which the county pays 7.65% of an employee’s salary to help fund Social Security and Medicare. The Sheriff has provided an average of what the county pays in health insurance for the various categories of his employees. The Sheriff’s updated employee compensation information is summarized next.

Merit Deputy Compensation
$48,686 Salary
$17,235 County Pension (35.40% of Salary)
$3,724 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$43,196 Health Insurance (average 88.72% of Salary)

Corrections Officer (Jailer) Compensation
$39,139 Salary
$4,384 PERF (11.20% of Salary)
$2,994 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,615 Health Insurance (average 75.67% of Salary)

Dispatch Center Communications Administrator Compensation
$39,228 Salary
$4,394 PERF (11.20% of Salary)
$3,001 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,632 Health Insurance (average 75.54% of Salary)

Courthouse Deputy Compensation
$38,035 Salary
$4,260 PERF (11.20% of Salary)
$2,910 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,144 Health Insurance (average 76.62% of Salary)

Crime Scene Investigator Compensation
$39,000 Salary
$4,368 PERF (11.20% of Salary)
$2,984 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,329 Health Insurance (average 75.20% of Salary)

Crime Analyst Compensation
$39,000 Salary
$4,368 PERF (11.20% of Salary)
$2,984 FICA (7.65% of Salary)
$29,329 Health Insurance (average 75.20% of Salary)

The foregoing updated employee compensation information is used to update the Business Plan costs breakdown listed next.

The recurring annual costs included in the Business Plan include the following:
$   389,490 salaries for 8 more merit deputies
$   391,390 salaries for 10 more jailers
$     39,228 salary for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$   114,105 salaries for 3 more courthouse deputies
$     39,000 salary for 1 more crime scene investigator
$     39,000 salary for 1 crime analyst
$   137,880 county pensions for 8 more merit deputies
$     43,840 PERF for 10 more jailers
$       4,394 PERF for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$     12,780 PERF for 3 more courthouse deputies
$       4,368 PERF for 1 more crime scene investigator
$       4,368 PERF for 1 crime analyst
$     29,792 FICA for 8 more merit deputies
$     29,940 FICA for 10 more jailers
$       3,001 FICA for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$       8,730 FICA for 3 more courthouse deputies
$       2,984 FICA for 1 more crime scene investigator
$       2,984 FICA for 1 crime analyst
$   345,568 Health Insurance for 8 more merit deputies
$   296,150 Health Insurance for 10 more jailers
$     29,632 Health Insurance for 1 dispatch center communications administrator
$     87,432 Health Insurance for 3 more courthouse deputies
$     29,329 Health Insurance for 1 more crime scene investigator
$     29,329 Health Insurance for 1 crime analyst
$   130,000 contract for jail mental health and drug addiction treatment
$2,244,714 TOTAL recurring annual costs

The Business Plan costs that do not recur every year include the following:
$  72,746 equipment/uniforms for 8 more merit deputies
$  37,900 equipment/uniforms for 10 more jailers
$  11,370 equipment/uniforms for 3 more courthouse deputies
$384,454 equipped vehicles for 8 more merit deputies
$    6,800 bullet proof vests for 8 more merit deputies
$    8,500 bullet proof vests for 10 more jailers
$    2,550 bullet proof vests for 3 more courthouse deputies
$  10,000 criminal interdiction team equipment and training
$  50,000 courthouse security equipment
$  70,000 Key Bank building stairway cameras with video storage
$  50,000 jail basement remodel
$100,000 in-car and body cameras with video storage
$  40,000 purchase 2 new K-9
$  15,000 security fence behind the “barn”
$    3,000 jail computer servers room
$  15,000 information technology items
$877,320 TOTAL non-recurring costs

The county’s cash reserves can be properly used to pay for the $877,320 in one-time Business Plan costs that do not recur every year. Ongoing funding sources will be needed to pay for the Business Plan’s recurring annual costs of $2,244,714.

The county’s August 9, 2016, Umbaugh report shows that the cash balance in the county’s Rainy Day Fund will be $3,756,498 at the end of 2016. It should be noted that $1,009,863 was deposited earlier in 2016 in the Rainy Day Fund from the state’s special COIT distribution. The cash reserves in the county’s Rainy Day Fund should be used to pay for the $877,320 in one-time Business Plan costs that do not recur every year.

A county-wide Local Income Tax rate increase of 25% would pay for the $2,244,714 in recurring annual costs included in the Sheriff’s Business Plan. Why is Sheriff Nielsen touting a 50% Local Income Tax rate increase when all he would need is a 25% increase to pay for all of his Business Plan (if the Plan’s one-time costs are paid from the county’s Rainy Day Fund).

NOTE #1: The ever-escalating total cost of the all-encompassing Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan has increased in stages from $2,168,141 to $2,523,459 to $3,122,034 today. Even more disturbing is the extent of the county-wide Local Income Tax increase that the Sheriff is selling during his publicity campaign. Listed next are the additional 2017 tax revenues that would result from imposing the 50% Local Income Tax rate increase that Sheriff Nielsen is touting:
$  4,548,632 Boone County ($1,426,598 more than the $3,122,034 Business Plan cost)
$  3,888,358 Zionsville
$  2,469,624 Lebanon
$  1,664,508 Whitestown
$       79,882 Thorntown
$       45,864 Jamestown
$       43,516 Advance
$       19,362 Ulen
$12,759,746 TOTAL
The Sheriff wants to increase the county-wide Local Income Tax by $12.8 million to pay for his $3.1 million Business Plan!

NOTE #2: Sheriff Nielsen stated at the September 6, 2016, Boone County Commissioners meeting that the county’s windfall cash from his excessive Local Income Tax rate increase ought to be used to pay for the county salary increases that he says will be recommended in the county’s salary survey that will be released on September 12. Look above at how much Health Insurance costs are paid by the county – the county pays for 93% of the cost of county employee Health Insurance. AND county employees outside the Sheriff’s office only work 35 hours a week. These extraordinary benefits should factor into any objective evaluation of the salary survey. It will be surprising if a Taxpayer Friendly evaluation of the salary survey will support the Sheriff’s assertion that his excessive Local Income Tax rate increase is needed to give county employees a large salary increase.

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This page was last updated on 10/08/16.