The Bradley County Finance Committee delayed a decision on whether to accept a Community- Oriented Policing Services grant from the United States Department of Justice.
The COPS grant would fund 75 percent of a new patrol deputy’s salary for three years.
Representatives from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office originally presented information about the grant to the law enforcement committee. However, they were told the decision needed to be made by the finance committee.
According to Commissioner Ed Elkins, who is a member of both committees, the law enforcement committee did not make a recommendation on whether the grant should be accepted.
“We have to provide the funding up front. We’d have to take it out of the fund balance I’m assuming,” Elkins said. “You have to show that you’ve funded this in your budget.”
If the grant is accepted, Bradley County would be required to fund the position for a fourth year.
Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth said the department applied for three positions with the grant, but only one was approved.
Whether there was enough funding to cover such a committment was a concern for Elkins. He meationed the county’s responsibility for some outstanding issues, such as environmental testing on a pond on Lot 38, was unclear.
Chair Connie Wilson asked if the finance committee wanted to wait until the actual numbers for last year’s budget were available. The final numbers on last year’s budget are still being processed.
Committee member Jeff Morelock asked when the deadline for the grant was for the department.
“We have 90 days from July 15 to accept the grant,” Major Jim Hodgson said.
The committee postponed a decision with the intent to discuss the issue again before the grant deadline.
The Sheriff’s Office has applied for similiar grants in the past. The Commission has not always accepted the grant. If a new position is created within a department’s budget, the Bradley County Commission cannot eliminated it later. However, if the grant is kept separate from the rest of the salary budget, the Commission would have a choice whether or not to continue funding the position, according to Mayor D. Gary Davis. Davis recommended if the finance committee accepts the grant, the funds be kept separate.
n The committee approved three budget amendments for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. One accepted payment for officers working special detail for Walker Valley High School and First Baptist Church. The other amendments concerned insurance recovery and funds for overtime for June 2012.
n Also during the meeting, the committee adopted updated policies for purchasing and fixed assets and passed budget amendment for the Bradley County Fire Rescue and Circuit Court Clerk budgets.