Showdown Brewing? Sheriff Donnie Craig and employee Miranda McDowell square off against County Finance Director Faye Harvey and commissioners Becky Denney, Rob Jones and Jerry Barnes over the proposed increase in the law enforcement agency’s budget for next year.
The Progress staff attended several of the county budget hearings of individual department heads last week. Currently, the proposed 2019 budget is $26.2 million. The majority of departmental budgets were flat, with no significant changes from last year.
The sheriff and fire operations saw the largest increase due to the number of employees in those
departments. The proposed budget includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for personnel. The below numbers are not final. A proposed budget must be advertised to the public and approved by commissioners.
Staff shortage, loss of revenue cause of $1.1 million budget increase, says sheriff
During a budget meeting Thursday, Oct. 25, commissioners and the sheriff came to a standstill over the sheriff’s proposed 2019 budget, which increased more than $1.1 million over last year.
Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig said the majority of those increases are in “areas we have no control over,” such as personnel, which the office has struggled to hire and retain over the years. Craig says his employees are forced to work overtime because the office is understaffed, specifically in the Uniform Patrol Division.
But in a discussion after the meeting, the commission board and county finance officer Faye Harvey said the sheriff’s office is throwing money at problems that need to be addressed within the department. Commissioner Rob Jones said the increase would require a one-mil increase. Along with commissioners Becky Denney and Jerry Barnes, Jones said they have no plans to raise the millage rate.
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