Houston County Commissioners tweak budget before final vote

Houston County Commissioners tweak budget before final vote

HOUSTON, Ala. (WSFA) - Houston County Commissioners are looking to add a few more manpower resources to the sheriff’s office’s budget.

Monday, Houston County Commissioners will vote on the final budget for the county for the upcoming fiscal year. It will look slightly different than the budget originally proposed during a work session earlier in September.

“We’ve put everything together. We’ve worked with departments. We’ve taken what we can fund and funded it,” said Chairman Mark Culver.

During the work session, there was some concern about potential figures for law enforcement. Although salary increases were requested and preliminarily included for the next budget, all of the manpower requests were not. Two areas of particular interest - two more deputies for the Administration Building and eight additional correction officers for the jail.

Chairman Culver says after reviewing the numbers they have added a slight increase.

“We decided the jail did in fact need a couple more and we did add two from the last work session, but we didn’t add any more deputies. We didn’t have the funds to do it,” said Culver.

According to Major Bill Rafferty, the Department of Justice recommends one deputy for every 10.25 inmates. He says Houston County will often jump to one correctional officer per 35 inmates.

“Every man is a blessing to be able to have at a correctional facility, but Monday when we vote on it we’ll see exactly how much we do get,” said Major Rafferty.

He says he’s still hopeful to get the two deputies for the Administration building and additional correctional officers, but he recognizes the position the county is in with funding.

“Unless the county can come up with more funding - which would have to come through legislation - we do what we can with what we have, but doing that sometimes puts personnel in a bad situation or in jeopardy,” said Rafferty.

Chairman Culver says the budget is roughly $42 million with $5 million in reserve. He says he expects the budget to pass during Monday’s meeting.

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