LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Sheriff Mike Scott and his team announced the budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year on Tuesday. The budget has been cut by a little more than $6 million for the upcoming year.
This is the third consecutive year that the Sheriff's Office budget has been reduced.
In the past three years, the sheriff's office budget has been reduced by $16 million dollars.
To cut the budget, 50 personnel took an early buyout. Some departments have been restructured and job responsibilities have been consolidated.
Sheriff Scott says despite the cuts, the crime rate has also fallen and public safety has never been compromised
Despite the cuts, the Sheriff's Office is expanding its School Resource Officer Program.
Right now the Sheriff's Office has SRO's at middle and high schools in unincorporated areas of Lee County.
But after June 10th, they'll take over SRO duties for the City of Fort Myers.
Sheriff Scott says this program is key to the protection of children.
Some current deputies may be reassigned to SRO duties or new one's may be hired.
It's unclear at this point how many will be needed.
The estimated price tag will be about $1 million.
The Lee County School District will pay half of the costs.
Sheriff Scott says money for more SRO's is factored into this new budget.