Covering Louisiana

Sep 3, 2013 8:59 AM by AP

Tangipahoa Sheriff cuts operating budget.

HAMMOND, La. (AP) - Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards has reduced his operating budget to about $18.2 million for the current fiscal year, down from almost $19 million for the previous year.

The Hammond Daily Start reports that records show about half of Edwards' budget goes to $9 million in salaries for 263 sheriff's office employees, meaning the average salary is about $34,220.

A little over $1million of the budget goes to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail, excluding salaries for jail staff.

For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, an independent auditor listed no findings in a report filed Oct. 22, marking at least four straight years Sheriff Daniel Edwards has earned a problem-free audit.

The sheriff's office has a current reserve fund of more than $6.9 million, expected to grow to more than $7.4 million by next summer.

Voters decide Oct. 19 whether to approve a half-cent sales tax to build a new jail. Edwards said the reserve fund shouldn't be used for the jail. He said the balance is necessary as a backup account.

"Because the sheriff's office only receives about $9 million in tax revenue annually out of $19 million total budget, at least half of our budget is self-generated, which is not a good position for a law enforcement agency to be in," he said.

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