No one made a motion to take a recommendation to the Commission.
“If you remember back in the 2010-11 budget cycle, I appeared before the Commission to talk about the COPS grant and the Commission unanimously voted for me to proceed with it,” Ruth said.
In its grant application, the Sheriff’s Office asked for three positions. Only one was approved. The grant requires that the position be a new hire who has served in the U.S. military.
While the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice would cover 75 percent of the person’s salary for three years, the county would be required to put the full amount in each year’s budget. The grant also requires the position to be fully funded for a fourth year.
Ruth pointed out that as the county continues to grow, more deputies will be needed.
“We asked last year for four deputies in the budget ... it wasn’t approved. Just one deputy would help a lot,” Ruth said
Committee member Ed Elkins pointed out that the department continues to have money left over in its budget for salaries. Ruth said his office was working on hiring some new people, but has had difficulties finding qualified candidates. In the past, leftover funds created from empty positions have been used for bonuses for deputies and to offset rising gasoline prices.
Elkins also said accepting the grant would require pulling money from the county’s general fund budget.
The Finance Committee voted against accepting the grant at its last meeting, after repeatedly delaying a decision to get more information. The law enforcement committee had sent the issue to finance, but did not make a recommendation for approval.