FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Broward Sheriff Scott Israel submitted a request Tuesday asking for $100 million more in his budget, but that couldn't be done without raising taxes, and that doesn't appear to be something the county commissioners are ready to do.
Israel wants to hire 72 new deputies, give all 6,000 employees a 2 percent raise, buy new cars and computers, and provide a list of services focused on rehabilitating first-time and minor offenders.
"The budget, as we move forward here, should be about safety and not necessarily about services," said County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. "It's about public safety."
"We understand the money is all the county's money. We get that," said Israel. "We just want to be sure the county commissioners know how much we want to bring social service programs and a holistic approach to law enforcement and do things differently."
Israel's requests were seen as somewhat ambitious by the panel. County Commissioner Stacy Ritter expressed that Israel's approach was refreshing, but that he shouldn't expect to get everything he's asking for.
"It's just like every other sheriff's budget -- I want, I want, I want, I want, I need, I need, I need, I need, all in the name of public safety, public safety, public safety," said County Commissioner Lois Wexler.
Israel argued he needs the nearly $100 million, in parts, to fill funding gaps he has inherited.
Israel said he plans to prioritize his budget, and feels confident he and county leaders can reach a deal before the budget is finalized in the fall.
"I respect the county commissioners as a board and individually. We'll see what they have to say," said Israel. "I have a phenomenal staff and we'll do what we have to do."
County commissioners plan to give the Broward Sheriff's Office a 2-percent budget increase next year, but Israel's request is almost $50 million more than that.
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