by Zora Asberry
PRESIDIO - The Presidio County Sheriff's Office is under the microscope by the Presidio County Commissioners Court and it all has to do with spending.
At last week's Commissioners Court meeting, the sheriff talked about receiving a grant to buy a prisoner transport van costing more than $30,000. But before commissioners approved the request, the county judge expressed concern over the remaining budget for the fiscal year.
Chief Deputy Joel Nunez, of the Presidio County Sheriff's Office, issued a statement to NewsWest 9, saying, "Although all purchases have been made with consent and support of the Commissioner's Court, we are being accused of going on a "spending spree" even if the operations orders have been approved and the Presidio County Commissioners Court points say otherwise."
Presidio County Judge, Cinderella Guevara, says that she didn't shoot down the sheriffs request, but was just concerned with going over the budget.
"At that Commissioner's Court, before approving it, it's my understanding that we should slow down and look to see where we are going to be in our finances for the rest of the year. Because we have a fiscal responsibility for the whole year and right now we are at half of the fiscal year," said Guevara.
The Sheriff's Office had requested an extension of the grant in the amount of $142,245 but the request was later rescinded.
"When it comes to a $100,000 or more of having to pay for, for instance the Copsync and the Chevrolet truck, that we were not expecting, then perhaps we should stop and check and see that we're going to be financially sound for the rest of the year before spending another $32,000," said Guevara.
Officials say the purchase of the 2014 Chevrolet pickup truck was approved by commissioner's with the understanding that the funds may or may not have been reimbursed by the grant as the extension had not yet been approved. In the case that the extension wasn't approved, the Sheriff's Office was prepared to purchase it with jail funds.
"I have spoken to the deputies and we are prepared to support the return of any and all funds which we have the opportunity to get awarded. Although these grants are extremely valuable to the county, we are not coordinating these grants properly," said Nunez.