City found cash to cover Sheriff’s union raises but will see a 10-percent drop in coverage due to vacant deputy positions.
June 24, 2010 8:05 PM
BROOKE EDWARDS, STAFF WRITER

VICTORVILLE • The city is no longer considering dropping nine deputies for the coming year, however seven deputy positions currently vacant will not be restored in the upcoming budget.

The city council was expected to vote during the budget workshop coming up Tuesday on whether to move one sergeant, one detective and seven deputies out of Victorville.

The move was needed to cover $1.3 million the city hadn’t budgeted for, when the Sheriff’s union voted June 14 against forgoing pay raises its members had been promised.

But City Spokeswoman Yvonne Hester said when staff ran final numbers this week to put the budget together, they found departments had cut back enough in other areas to keep a five percent reserve fund and still absorb the extra $1.3 million.

However Victorville won’t be budgeting to fill seven deputy positions that have been left vacant over the last year as deputies have opted to take other posts, for a 10 percent drop in coverage.

Karen Hunt, spokeswoman for the Victorville station, said that attrition has taken place “in order to assist with our city as a whole’s budgetary needs.”

Victorville started this year contracting for 71 deputy positions, per the county contract signed last summer.

Knowledgeable sources say the city has saved more than $1 million as a result of leaving seven of those positions vacant, though both city and department officials were unable to confirm this amount.

Hunt said the positions have been left vacant rather than eliminated, since it’s much more difficult to add a position down the line than fill one that’s already approved.

The Victorville station is consistently ranked as one of the busiest in San Bernardino County.

Though the Rancho Cucamonga station received more total calls from a larger population during the 2008-09 fiscal year, according to the county’s annual report, it also has more deputies covering a smaller territory.

While each deputy in Rancho handled an average of 1,202 calls, each of Victorville’s 71 deputies handled an average of 1,351.

And if that pace continued for this fiscal year ending Wednesday, Victorville’s 64 current deputies will have handled an average of 1,499 calls.

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