Darren Doyle, story:
Magistrates voted unanimously to pass the 2021 annual budgets for the offices of Edmonson County Sheriff Shane Doyle and Edmonson County Clerk Kevin Alexander at today's fiscal court meeting.
While both are funded through taxpayer dollars, the Sheriff's budget has a portion funded from the county's general fund, which is normally around 25% of the total amount. The County Clerk's budget is funded through county tax funds but doesn't require additional funding from the county's general fund; in fact, the clerk's office turns over excess funds not used in their office back to the general fund each year. The clerk's budget still requires approval from the fiscal court, which was in the amount of $2,909,215.
Sheriff Doyle has faced issues over the past two years from former magistrates who have strongly disagreed with the requested amounts and has been forced to take lesser amounts than requested. His 2019 budget was approved at $616K, which was $10K less than he requested, and last year's budget amount was approved at $666K, a number that was $28K less than his request. Doyle has repeatedly said that most of the increase requests in his budgets over the years are from rising costs that he cannot control, such as state retirement and health benefits, as well as overtime for deputies due to increased call volumes to his office. In addition, Doyle has also been an advocate for pay increases for his deputies in order to stay competitive with other counties with similar populations and sheriff office sizes.
Doyle's requested amount for his 2021 budget of $696K was approved unanimously by magistrates at today's virtual fiscal court meeting.
A few county offices gave their periodic reports to the court that included the following:
Road Report: County Road Supervisor Greg Carroll said the the road department's new paver should be shipped sometime in the second week of January and the county has agreed to hire an equipment hauling company to ship the machine from Florida to Brownsville in the amount of $3200. Carroll also said workers had been busy with tile and drainage work in multiple districts and he also discussed upcoming repair charges in the amounts of $13K total for a couple of their trucks that had experienced some issues; one of which was a major transmission problem.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon also discussed with Carroll potential damage caused to the intersection of Penner and Sulphur Roads due to farm equipment in that area. Carroll said that large farm equipment has damaged the drainage ditches on the roads, as well as the road itself. Judge Cannon said the farmers causing the damage are responsible for the repairs and will be billed accordingly. The name(s) of the farmers were not discussed.
Emergency Management: Judge Cannon said Emergency Management Director Terry Massey was helping with COVID vaccination distribution in the county today for local first responders. Cannon said few local emergency workers were taking the vaccine, which would leave a surplus of the vaccines in Edmonson County. Cannon also noted that these vaccines can only be used for first responders at this time. He noted that while his personal choice is to see that the surplus of the vaccines on this particular shipment should stay in the county and go to seniors and other high-risk residents, they can only be used on first responders and recommends any extra be donated to Warren County's emergency workers. No other information is currently available on the accessibility of vaccines for others.
Jailer Report: County Treasurer Tammi Willhite said a submitted report from the Edmonson County Jailer listed 17 current county inmates housed at the Hart County Jail.
Willhite later addressed an audit issue with the way the Sheriff's Office paid one deputy for his role in running the school's D.A.R.E. program. She said the sheriff's office receives funding for the program through a grant which had been placed in the sheriff's drug fund and paid directly out to the deputy; however, that was not allowed because the payment to the deputy had to be taxed, which the sheriff's office said they were not aware. She said the county was able to correct the issue in the way the deputy will be paid for the program in the future and the deputy has agreed to pay the proper taxes on the payment he's already received.
The court also agreed to:
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for January 11th at 9AM via virtual meeting.