Sheriff’s office cuts back

Published 8:40 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Decatur County Commissioners have amended the county’s budget to reflect the loss of $197,000 in revenue associated with the City of Bainbridge taking its inmates to Pelham, Ga.

The Sheriff’s Office and County Jail took almost all of the budget reduction, with smaller amounts coming from the budgets of the County Prison and the Public Works Department, County Finance Director Carl Rowland said.

In July, the Bainbridge City Council voted 5-1 to begin housing city inmates in the Pelham City Jail, in lieu of renewing a previous contract with the county. County officials attempted to re-negotiate the contract through a series of letters sent between Commission Chairman Earl Perry and Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds. But the talks reached an impasse and Reynolds suggested the matter be laid aside for at least a year.

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Rowland said he met with Sheriff Griffin and the Board of Commissioners’ Finance Committee—currently comprised of Perry and Commissioner Russell Smith—to discuss amending the budget to avoid a shortfall.

The amendments took $188,736 out of the budget for the Sheriff’s Office and Jail. The largest single cut, $112,236, came from employee salaries. An additional $17,000 came from line items for overtime and group insurance, $10,300 came from employee benefits and retirement contributions were reduced by $6,900. The Sheriff’s Office will reduce its fuel budget by $14,000 and $11,300 will be cut from indirect costs.

Four thousand dollars was taken from the prison’s budget and $4,264 was taken from the Public Works budget.

Just before the amendments were approved, Commissioner Smith thanked Griffin for his willingness to cut from his own budget to avoid a shortfall in the county’s annual budget, which by state law has to balance its revenues and expenditures.

During public participation, former commissioner Benny Hayes spoke about the county’s recent difficulty bidding out repairs on a leaky section of roof at the County Jail. Hayes said he believed county officials should prepare a written scope of work for any proposed project and hold a pre-bid meeting for potential bidders to be clear on what was expected for the project. Hayes added he believes the county should appoint someone to oversee contractors to ensure they meet professional standards of construction.