DuPage sheriff ready to cut costs to balance budget

A chief with the DuPage sheriff's office says the department intends to comply with a request to reduce spending to help balance the county's 2018 budget.

But James Kruse, the administrative bureau chief, says officials don't yet know what cost-cutting measures they'll take.

"We don't really have a road map yet," Kruse said Thursday. "We've had some initial discussions, but there's nothing set in stone about what we're going to do. I think we're going to have to take a very hard look at all the operations."

County board Chairman Dan Cronin this week presented a proposed budget that includes a $2.7 million drop in revenue because of state funding cutbacks.

To make up for the projected loss of funding, all countywide offices and departments in DuPage are being asked to reduce costs. The goal is to have the offices and departments cut a total of roughly $3 million.

The sheriff's office has been asked to reduce the amount it spends on base employee salaries by 4 percent.

Kruse said it's going to be a challenge for the office to fulfill its responsibilities with less money.

"The sheriff is a constitutional officer," he said. "There's things that he's mandated by law to do."

Earlier this year, the sheriff requested a department budget totaling roughly $43.3 million.

Kruse said that proposed "maintenance" budget is just $54,000 more than what the department received for the current fiscal year. It includes funding for several initiatives, including $74,000 to buy and install 69 cameras at the county jail.

Still, Kruse said he understands that every department needs to reduce costs in the wake of declining revenues.

"We're going to do our very best to be cooperative and do what we have to do," Kruse said. "It's going to be challenging, but I'm hopeful we will be able to get through it."

County board members have until Nov. 30 to approve a budget for the 2018 fiscal year that begins Dec. 1.

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