The Monroe County Council began its review of 2018 budget requests last week in the first of six budget hearings scheduled for September. How the county will spend its public safety tax dollars featured prominently in the council’s September 5th work session.
Giving a budget overview, council member Geoff McKim said overall funding requests exceeded expected revenues.
McKim said the county can expect to receive 2.7 million dollars in public safety tax revenue in 2018. The county has received 1.85 million dollars in funding requests for that particular pot of money.
Out of those requests, Councilmembers gave their support to Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain’s request for five new deputies, and the vehicles and equipment they’ll need.
At the inception of the public safety tax in 2016, Swain requested ten new deputies, and received five. Swain said the five new positions for 2018 are the second half of his original request, and will allow for broader coverage across the county.
Swain added that the opioid epidemic is contributing to the need for more deputies.
The fully equipped new vehicles will come at a cost of 190 thousand dollars.
Monroe County Jail Commander Sam Crowe requested more public safety dollars to fund overtime he anticipates jail employees will be working due to an expanding inmate population.
Crowe said his 5 million dollar general fund budget for 2018 varies little from 2017. One exception, though, is an increased need for supplies due to an increased number of inmates.
Crowe said even non-perishable items tend to need to be replaced more frequently because of frequent use. Crowe and Council member Marty Hawk discussed sending inmates to be housed in other counties in an effort to alleviate overcrowding at the county jail.
The county council also reviewed budgets for the Perry Clear Creek Fire Protection District, and the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District in Wednesday’s budget session.