Quorum Court Committees Recommend Appropriations for the Sheriff’s Office

Two committees of the Jefferson County Quorum Court on Tuesday recommended that several appropriations for the sheriff’s office be approved , including one that would continue to pay for interior work at the new sheriff’s facility next to the adult jail.

Both the Public Safety/Emergency Services and Finance committees of the county’s legislative body gave their approval to a $44,926.76 appropriation, which, according to Chris Brown, the office manager for the sheriff’s office, is needed to continue to pay invoices related to finishing the interior work on the new sheriff’s office headquarters.

Under former County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV, the county borrowed $850,000 from Relyance Bank to complete the interior of the building and add parking lots. The $44,926.76 appropriation will come from that loaned amount.

Dr. Herman Ginger, chairman of the Finance Committee, said the first payment on that note, $187,000, will be due the first working day of 2019, with four additional payments due each year after.

“Be aware that we have got to come up with that money,” Ginger said. “We don’t need to be stripping every account. Don’t look for it to come from County General (Fund).”

To bolster his point, Ginger said the county had $408.07 available for appropriation at the end of June. Under state law, the county can only appropriate 90 percent of its available revenue.

Another ordinance recommended for approval would allow the county to accept and spend $28,500 to pay for new furniture and fixtures for the new sheriff’s office building. In addition to a previously announced donation of $25,000 from Simmons Bank, FBT Bank and Mortgage has donated $2,500 and the Pine Federal Credit Union has donated $1,000. That new building is expected to open in the near future.

A third appropriation would transfer $103,154.16 from money budgeted for salaries and benefits for deputies to other expenses, such as utility bills, fuel and oil, computer and internet services and general supplies.

Finally, a proposed $321,514.70 appropriation ordinance would transfer funds from the adult jail fund to the Public Safety Sales Tax fund, which is currently used to pay salaries and benefits for deputies who work at the jail.

Also Tuesday, a proposed $91,304.44 appropriation ordinance that would pay salaries and benefits, as well as postage for sanitation statements for the solid waste department, was tabled until next Monday to see if the funds could be found since they were not available in County General.

During a special meeting of the full court that followed the committee meetings Tuesday, a resolution authorizing County Judge Booker Clemons to contract with Johnson Controls to do work to improve energy efficiency in county buildings was approved.