The Sheriff’s Office requested approximately $157,000 be transferred from the general fund balance of the county to the BCSO for vehicle maintenance, gasoline, data processing, and other contracted services. The office also requested about $70,000 for the jail.
Debbie Evans of the Sheriff’s Office said these items were taken out of the budget last year when county departments were asked to reduce their budget by 4.5 percent. Also due to budget cuts, the jail’s budget for contracted services was reduced to zero. However, the contracted services for the departments were still needed and have to be paid.
Another factor contributing to the request has been the steep rise in gasoline prices.
A motion to grant the requested amounts for gasoline and other contracted maintenance, as well as the requested funds for other contracted services for the jail, was made by committee member Mel Griffith. The motion was seconded, but was later withdrawn during discussion.
Committee member Ed Elkins said he would like more information before making a final decision. He also said he would like a list of the contracted services the department did not include in the budget because of the requested cuts.
Finance chairperson Connie Wilson asked Evans if the department could wait two weeks for a decision. Evans agreed.
Elkins and committee member Jeff Morelock expressed concern that the finance committee will be dealing with the same issues next year if similar cuts are required.
“I’d like to get a realistic budget,” Morelock said of the upcoming budget process.
Morelock said it would be better if departments decided what could be cut rather than having to make cuts across the board.
The Commission needs to look at what it will take for departments to operate and pass a more realistic budget, according to Morelock.
Elkins said when last year’s budget was passed he voted against it because he felt certain departments, such as the Sheriff’s Office, were not being given enough money to cover unavoidable expenses.
Also during the meeting, the finance committee approved budget amendments to accept funds for the Farmer’s Market and Bradley County Fire Rescue. A budget request to use additional revenue from Emergency Medical Services patient charges for supplies, gasoline and utilities was also approved.