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Las Animas Commissioners sue sheriff department

LAS ANIMAS — The Las Animas County Commission voted unanimously to take legal action regarding the budget overages by the sheriff’s department for fiscal year 2015. The amount the sheriff’s department overspent is estimated to be about $93,000. The exact figures haven’t been released because the county is still receiving bills from vendors on work or services performed for the sheriff’s department. Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) state in §29-1-110, that expenditures are not to exceed appropriation. It was recommended by County Technical Services Inc. (CTSI) that Las Animas County, starting in June, began budget preparation for the following year. In that preparation, each department sends in a proposed budget. The county then crunches the numbers and puts together the draft budget for the following year. They then take the revenue generated by property taxes and appropriate the amounts each department will need to spend on their operations. It is those appropriations that §29-1-110 makes reference to. According to the county, the sheriff’s department spent at least $93,000 more than was appropriated for the 2015 budget year. Colorado Revised Statute 30-25-103 states that any liability incurred by any officer of the county, above the appropriated level, shall be the personal liability of the officer in charge of that department and not the county. In this case, it is the Las Animas County Sheriff who will be held liable. This is the basis for any legal action that the county may take against the sheriff. In other business, the county commission approved the purchase of five new vehicles for the sheriff’s office. They will be purchasing three 2016 Ford Interceptors and two new Dodge Ram four door pick-up trucks for a total price of $191,488.76. The monies are coming from a fund set up by the county where excess revenues from the Judicial Center Bond were kept. A total of $301,488 was in the account prior to the vehicle purchase. The fund was established for the purpose of buying new vehicles for the sheriff’s department. The vehicles will be outfitted and ready by the end of summer. Also considered was a pay request from Maxwell Builders for the Department of Human Services project at the old jail on the Courthouse campus. The billing is in the amount of $32,294.30. It is for site preparation, demolition, clean-up, supplies, and material. The contractor has covered the floor with plastic and wood to protect it with the project still in the demolition phase. The commission voted 3-0 to pay the billing. The commission also gave the go ahead for a $954,000 final design and construction management action on the runway project at Perry Stokes Airport. The total on the design phase of the airport renovation project is around $1.1 million. Las Animas County and the State of Colorado each have put in less then $50,000, or about 10% of the funding for the project. The FAA has provided the remaining 90%of the cost for the project. The county commissioners went into executive session at 10:12 am. After closing the session the regular meeting was adjourned.