MIAMI — In a brief meeting, the Ottawa County Excise Board approved a measure to briefly ease the budget pinch in the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office.

In a unanimous vote, board members approved a measure that temporarily lifts restrictions on Sheriff Jeremy Floyd so he can make payroll for the current pay period, then reimpose the restrictions from Jan. 20 through Feb. 19.

The payroll for December and January is $90,945 and with adjustments, $130,000, for the next pay period it's estimated that it will more or less be $82,200.

District Attorney Kenny Wright noted that Floyd has been making significant changes to help bring expenditures more in line with his budget.

“We're hoping to get this situation where we don't have to do this every pay period,” Wright said. “If the restriction is not lifted, the result would be insufficient funds to pay all of the sheriff's office staff and could potentially wind up in litigation. The county would be responsible for paying people somewhere on down the road depending on whether the litigation was friendly in a legal sense or adversarial.

“But based on the steps the sheriff has taken so far and in the plans that he has in the future,which includes the surplus item auction, my recommendation is to lift the restriction then reapply it for the remainder of the fiscal year (which ends in June) again and to the conclusion of this pay period.”

The budget issue came to light late last year when it was discovered that Floyd had overspent his 2017-18 budget by more than $380,000.

An audit has been scheduled with the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector's office, but a date has not been set.

The problem was brought to light late last year after it was discovered that Floyd had overspent his 2017/2018 fiscal year budget by over $380,000 (the fiscal year ends in June).

While questioning the sheriff about the 2018/2019 budget, commissioners learned that Floyd had already spent 34 percent of the general fund allotted in the first quarter of his 2018/2019 fiscal year budget.

That created enough concern that commissioners and Wright approved the audit at their Nov. 26 meeting.

— Carla Nielsen also contributed to this report.