MARSHALL - The drug task force serving Lyon County and four other counties is continuing to make arrests in the region, but funding questions may have an impact on its future, law enforcement officers said Tuesday.
Jeff Hohensee of the Brown-Lyon-Lincoln-Redwood-Renville Drug Task Force gave the Lyon County Board an update of the organization's activities during the board's regular meeting Tuesday.
The task force has steadily increased the number of drug-related arrests in the region since 2007, Hohensee said. In 2010, the Drug Task Force made a total of 98 arrests, all for felony-level drug offenses, Hohensee said. Out of those arrests, 75 were for the sale of drugs. The task force also seized or purchased drugs including a total of 143 ounces of marijuana, a total of 80 grams of cocaine, and 608 prescription pills.
"We're seeing a huge influx in prescription medications," Hohensee said. Task force agents try to focus on the biggest offenders.
The task force and the counties it serves will need to examine funding options for the future, however. Of the task force's $520,000 budget, about $376,000 comes from grants. Hohensee said the task force had received Recovery Act grant funding which will end after this year, leaving a gap of about $137,000 in the budget.
One possibility for funding the task force would be by changing the contributions that member counties make to the drug task force over to a population-based system. For example, at a rate of $3.25 per county resident, the five counties could potentially contribute a total of more than $290,000, Hohensee said. Lyon County's portion would work out to $84,035.
Hohensee said he wasn't asking counties for financial action at this time, but said it may be a definite possibility in the future.
Under the current match funding system, the Lyon County Sheriff's Department contributes $13,000 a year to the task force, and the Marshall Police Department also contributes $13,000 a year.