What is in the Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s latest budget proposal

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Lee County Sheriff's Office
Lee County Sheriff’s Office (Credit: WINK News)

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is proposing a hike in the budget to fight crime and the cost of living.

LCSO is proposing a 12.2% increase over last year. It comes as we see an increase in violent crime and prices rising because of inflation.

Thousands of people have moved to Lee County since the start of the pandemic, and there’s nothing to suggest that’s going to stop.

We have sun, surf sand, and when it comes to crime, “We have law and order, and I’m going to make certain of it,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

Marceno knows crime has decreased 59% in the last decade, but violent crime has increased in the last five years.

He wants a 12.2% hike in his budget, totaling $241 million to fight that.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said tax revenue is way up, so Lee County can afford it.

“Because we stayed open during the pandemic and have people moving here, we have seen a big surplus, meaning we have taken more money in than we have spent,” said Hamman.

According to the sheriff’s budget proposal, a big chunk of the money will go toward replacing big-ticket items like the LCSO helicopter, plane, and a portion of his fleet of patrol cars.

The sheriff said his office needs to upgrade the forensics software too.

Another large pool of money will go toward raising the pay for deputies and staff because of the rising cost of living due to inflation.

The sheriff praised the commissioners for their support.

“They don’t just talk. They come up with action, and they do everything we can to make sure public safety is the number one concern,” said Marceno.

Among the other items in the budget proposal are a $32,000 salary increase to $210,000 for the sheriff, money to replace drones that will no longer be allowed under state law at the end of the year, and funding for the digitizing of old records.

Lee County commissioners will begin debating the budget on Tuesday.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.