Ky. police commissioner blames gas prices and retirement costs for shortfall that prompted layoffs

09/12/2013 06:44 PM

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer told lawmakers Thursday that higher gas prices and increasing retirement contributions are fueling a roughly $5.8 million shortfall, which has prompted him to lay off 20 troopers.

Last month, Brewer announced that he would cut 20 troopers from the Trooper R program that brought veteran troopers out of retirement and back on patrol for up to 5 years on an annual contract. Lawmakers had approved that program in 2009 as a way to save money because it rehired officers at a starting salary, and those experienced troopers required no training.

But, the projected shortfall left the Kentucky State Police Commissioner with little choice but to make the cuts.

“We were probably going to run about $5.8 million short again in fiscal year 2014, not withstanding the $7 million debt that we had already incurred at the end of FY13,” Brewer told lawmakers on the committee that oversees public protection. Legislators can address the state police budget shortfall during the 2014 legislative session in which they will be crafting a state spending plan for the next two years.

Retirement contributions continue to be a heavy burden as those contributions have risen steadily in recent years.

“Our retirement contributions from the agency have increasingly gone up and this year we will pay 71 cents to retirement for every dollar a trooper makes,” Brewer said.

Another effect of the budget crunch is less money each year to spend on new vehicles
which causes the agency to have an aging fleet.

“Today, over 50 percent of our cars in an operational setting, are over 100,000 miles,” said Brewer.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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