Sheriff David Clarke's is seeking a 50% tax levy increase to fund a Sheriff's Department expansion that would include 206 additional full-time positions.
Clarke's requested property tax increase is a stunning $28.7 million, up 50% from the $57.3 million levy for this year. The figures are adjusted to reflect changes in 2017 budgeting methods.
Clarke and the deputies' union are fresh off a defeat in the State Court of Appeals over whether Clarke has the right to appoint as many deputies as he feels is necessary. Clarke and the union argued he did; the Appeals Court disagreed.
Clarke's budget request is sure to fuel the forever feud between him and County Executive Chris Abele. The two have clashed over many things, including the Sheriff's Department budget.
The 206 new full-time equivalent positions Clarke wants next year would increase FTE staffing to 913, a 29% increase from the 707 FTEs authorized this year.
"This budget seeks to remedy staff shortages created by previous years' budgets, requiring excessive amounts of overtime that has resulted in overworked, tired, and stressed sworn officers and CO staff on the job and at home," the Sheriff's Department said in its budget request.
Said Steven R. Kreklow, Abele's performance, strategy and budget director: "I really can't say anything at this point other than we're reviewing the request from the Sheriff's Office and will be discussing this and other departmental budget requests with the County Executive over the next month or so."
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
Sign up for the free WJI newsletter.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin