Buffalo Grove may need to take a bite out of its 2014 budget to balance it. It may have to take some of its bark out as well, in the form of the K-9 program.
To aid village board members in looking at the budget, which faces a funding gap in future years unless services are cut or taxes are raised, Deputy Village Manager Jennifer Maltas presented an analysis Monday to the board's committee of the whole of the cost of what the village calls its Tier 3 services -- those that go beyond the village's core mission.
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Maltas said 132 services were analyzed, broken down into such factors as direct costs, revenues, salaried time in hours and dollars, and total net annual costs. Only eight services break even.
"The highest total cost program that we have right now is the K-9 program," she said. "Without including staff time, it is costing the village $1,200 per search."
When you include staff time associated with the program, the cost per search is more than $5,800, she said. In 2012, Maltas said, there were 31 searches conducted in Buffalo Grove and 51 searches externally. The net cost to run the program is in excess of $182,000.
Police Chief Steven Casstevens said that the program incurs such costs as food, health care and officer training.
Trustee Steven Trilling wondered if the village could recoup the cost of providing the service to other towns that do not have their own K-9 program. But Casstevens said that when the canine officer is on vacation or off duty, the village uses the K-9 services of another community.
"It's kind of a trade back and forth," he said. "Communities do it for each other."
Casstevens added that in some cases, a dog boosts productivity.
"An officer may have found just a pipe in the car -- a marijuana pipe. Rather than me tearing this car up (looking for drugs), it's easier if I walk a dog around it," he said.