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Supervisors began budget review for coming fiscal year

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors began the process of budget review with department heads for the 2019-2020 fiscal year on Monday. The board’s first session was with Sheriff David Allison and a review of the budget request for the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Allison is requesting a budget for the Sheriff’s Office of approximately $3,094,510, an increase from last year’s budget of $2,850,000. In the budget request presented to the board, Allison is asking for a 5 percent pay increase across the board for employees in the Sheriff’s Office, the first one in approximately four years according to Allison.

Allison also noted he has operated under the number of deputies he had budgeted for last year due to attrition. Allison said that he would to make the raise increase to reward those employees who have stayed loyal to the county and at the same time be able to stay competitive with other regional pay scales. Allison pointed out that the increased case load on his deputies and investigators is another factor that warrants the pay increase due to the pace that the jobs demand.

Sheriff Allison requested eight new vehicles for the department. Chief Deputy Shane Tucker explained that the current fleet of patrol cars are all right around 100,000 in mileage and in a couple of years they are going to be in what one would describe as high mileage. Tucker also noted that some of the trucks, like the one he uses, have over 200,000 miles on them. Tucker told the board that one car, a Ford Crown Victoria, was not safe to drive at high speeds in his opinion after riding in the car. He also described a Nissan Maxima being used that has incurred thousands of dollars in repairs and become somewhat of a money pit for repairs.

Tucker said the cost to keep these and similar cars on the road is just not feasible. Tucker told the board that if some of the cars are not replaced now, in the very immediate years the cost to replace all of the cars at once will be substantial. Sheriff Allison added that the condition of the majority of the fleet of vehicles also factors in employees leaving the department due to the poor condition of the equipment they have to drive daily in doing their jobs, especially the younger deputies and investigators. Allison and Tucker told the board that going forward, it appears the Ford Explorer may be the vehicle of choice due to many factors including its ground clearance.

Tucker said the Ford Taurus has also been a good car for the department, while the ground clearance of the Dodge Charger is the least practical patrol car based on some of the roads in the county that required more ground clearance.

Sheriff Allison asked for a small increase for the jail of approximately $15,000 over last year’s budget number of $3,102,000.

At the end of the first of many budget meetings, the board appeared to stay firm on a commitment to put a budget in place based on the county’s expected revenue and will not ask for a millage increase.

The board, as the budget process is defined, will take the Sheriff’s request and review it and possibly make adjustments to the amount of money requested once all department budgets have been reviewed and combined to make up the budget for the coming year.


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