(Oct. 16, 2020) Worcester County Commissioners approved several end-of-year budget transfers, as well as the reserve for encumbrances for fiscal year 2020 during their meeting last Tuesday.
Combined, various departments requested a total of $364,645 to cover unforeseen expenses.
The largest expense was $81,123 from the sheriff’s office for uniforms. The amount did not go unnoticed, as County Commissioner Chip Bertino asked why that much was needed for uniforms.
Harold Higgins, chief administrative officer, suggested that the sheriff’s office might have changed uniforms.
“That’s an awful lot of money on top of whatever the budget was for uniforms in a single year,” Bertino said.
The department was originally allocated $24,674.
After amending the motion, commissioners voted to approve the budget transfers, except for the sheriff’s office until they learn why $81,123 was needed.
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said its uniform vendor went out of business and the department bought 460 replacement uniforms.
“The original plan was to phase these uniforms in over two years, but when covid-19 occurred, it was decided to have all personnel receive sets,” the department said. “This would and did reduce possible exposure at dry cleaners.”
Commissioners next approved the reserve for encumbrances for the end-of-the-year audit, which totaled $3,042,998. These funds are set aside for contracts and purchase orders that will be fulfilled at a later period.