Columbus Council reaches compromise on Sheriff’s budget - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Columbus Council reaches compromise on Sheriff’s budget

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COLUMBUS, Ga. - City Council tentatively agreed to accept the Mayor's recommended budget for the FY15 Muscogee County Sheriff's Office at a budget work session on Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement came after Finance Director Pam Hodge told council Sheriff John Darr sat down with the Finance Department and they were able to find about $1 million in savings. Sheriff Darr had initially asked for about $2 million more than the Mayor's proposed budget. After the savings, his request was trimmed down to about $1 million and Council said they will hold off on approving that $1 million request until they revisit his budget half-way through the fiscal year.

Over the past 4 years, the Sheriff's Office has spent about $7 million dollars over-budget. Darr says if his office is not fully funded -- it's inevitable that his office will continue to run a deficit. He says not receiving adequate funding is the reason his office has been in the red during past years. The overall cost of properly housing inmates has also risen and he says he has limited control on the costs required to hold inmates.

Last year, the city was able to absorb the deficit through pulling from the Sheriff's Office’s reserve fund. With that fund running low the city doesn't have much room if the Sheriff’s Office goes over budget again.

Council has to adopt a final city FY15 budget by July 1, the first day of FY15. There are several public hearings on the proposed budget scheduled for June,

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David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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