still in limbo
The Bradley County Finance Committee again postponed approving a Community Oriented Policing Services grant because actual numbers from last year’s budget were unavailable during Wednesday’s meeting.
The grant from the United States Department of Justice would fund 75 percent of a new patrol deputy’s salary for three years.
Finance committee member Mel Griffith said the grant would create a new position in the Sheriff’s Office.
The grant requires the salary to be funded for a new hire who is a U.S. Veteran.
“I would like to hear the law enforcement committee take a stand on this, and recommend whether we need it or don’t need it,” finance committee member Jeff Morelock said. “I don’t care if it’s free if we don’t need it.”
Finance Committee member Ed Elkins and Griffith expressed concern that the position would not be filled.
“There’s nothing to restrict them right now. They could hire a veteran if they wanted to,” Elkins said. “They have positions over there already funded that they could put a person into.”
Elkins said the department has issues keeping positions filled.
Elkins, who is also a member of the law enforcement committee, said there were only three members at the last meeting where the committee decided to ask the finance committee to look into available funding for the remaining 25 percent needed for the COPS grant.
Commission chairman Louie Alford said he wanted to know how many funded positions within the department had remained vacant.
“If they are five or six people short already ... we know they have the funding to hire people,” Alford said.
The finance committee will ask Sheriff Jim Ruth to attend the next finance committee meeting and for a recommendation from the law enforcement committee. More concrete final numbers on last year’s budget figures should be available by the finance committee’s meeting in two weeks.
The committee did approve a Sheriff’s Office amendment to accept payment of $2,331.57 for a special detail officers worked.
Also during the meeting, budget amendments for misdemeanor probation and accepting insurance payments were approved. Committee members approved $59,882 to be moved from the Reserve for Alcohol to various line items. These included contracted services, probation salary, and the drug and DUI program.
An amendment to accept insurance payments to pay for repairs to a roof at the Juvenile Justice Center was also approved.