The county commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution that will allow Sheriff Phil Stammitti to charge sex offenders to register with the county – something they`re required by law to do.
It will cost Tier III sex offenders – who are required to register every 90 days for life – $100 per year to register. Tier I and Tier II offenders, who must register annually for a certain number of years, will pay $25.
“It`s not a whole lot, but it`s something to help defray the costs,” Stammitti said.
It`s also a new trend throughout the state, and so far sheriffs in 18 other counties have implemented similar programs, Stammitti said. He expects other sheriffs will follow because of budget problems throughout the state.
Stammitti said he doubts the program will bring in enough money to allow him to hire back any of the 10 full-time deputies who are currently laid off. But it will help with administrative costs – if the money, which is paid into the county`s cash-strapped general fund, comes back his way.
The commissioners slashed $6 million from the county`s budget late last year and have imposed a 0.5 percent sales tax increase that is expected to generate $15 million annually. Although the tax hike went into effect in April, voters must approve it in November in order for it to become permanent.
Commissioners have warned that if that doesn`t happen there will be additional cuts.
The county currently has 699 registered sex offenders, 291 of whom are Tier III offenders.
There are 213 Tier II offenders, 90 Tier I offenders and 105 offenders who are fighting a recent change in how sex offenders must register, Stammitti said.
But all of those offenders won`t end up paying the fee to register, he said.
If an offender makes less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level – $13,537 annually for an offender who is single with no dependents or $27,562 for an offender in a family of four – they won`t be required to pay, Stammitti said.
The fees will go into effect July 1.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.