DuPage sheriff's office: We can't cut 10% more

Already down 25 employees from their ideal staffing levels, officials in the DuPage County sheriff's department say additional budget cuts would make their job impossible.

For the second consecutive year, DuPage County department heads have been asked to prepare an alternative budget with an additional 10 percent in cuts.

Chief James Kruse told county board finance committee members Tuesday his department already has scaled back in all available areas. The only way to achieve an additional 10 percent budget reduction, he said, would be to cut 79 employees.

"Through discussion with the county board chairman (Dan Cronin) and the chief financial officer (Paul Rafac), the only area that could theoretically be reduced would be from personnel lines," Kruse said. "We investigated a reduction of 79 personnel should this occur.

"In short, that would make it impossible for the office to carry out the constitutional duties of the sheriff."

County board members Robert Larsen and Sam Tornatore asked how Kruse came to that number and why the cuts could only come from personnel.

"We are, literally, at a bare-bones as far as our commodities and contractuals. The monies within those areas are minimal. There isn't anything from those areas that we can reduce and sustain our operations," Kruse said. "The optimum level that we've been at where we can do really good, proactive work, that sweet spot, is 545 people. That's 25 people more than we have now.

"Yes, we try to stay within what the board has set, but sometimes the dollar amount that was set is unattainable."

Sheriff John Zaruba's first draft of his 2017 budget proposes $42,029,876.56 in spending, up $139,517 or 0.33 percent, more than the budget originally recommended by the county's finance department.

County board members have until Nov. 30 to approve a final draft of the budget. The county's fiscal year starts Dec. 1.

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