Bradley County: Panel finds sheriff budget confusing

Bradley County: Panel finds sheriff budget confusing

May 5th, 2011 in News

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Members of the Bradley County Finance Committee are asking for a more straightforward budget this year from the sheriff's office.

After cutting the budget for the current 2010 fiscal year, the department has been forced several times to shift money from one budget category to another to meet obligations for contracted services and other expenses.

Wednesday, committee meeting heard $120,500 worth of changes requested by several departments. The sheriff's office asked for "monies that [were] cut from 2010-2011 budget that need to be added back to finish out remaining budget year.''

Chairwoman Connie Wilson led a discussion that reduced the latest requests before sending them to the full commission for a vote.

"I'm hoping we can get a realistic budget this year,'' said County Commissioner Jeff Morelock.

"I think there are things they could have cut and didn't,'' said Commissioner Mel Griffith.

Payments for contracted services need to be in the budget properly, he and other committee members said.

"I can't blame them,'' said Commissioner Ed Elkins, who voted against the budget last year. "They are doing the best they can with what we did to them last year. We did a terrible disservice to the sheriff's department last year.''

As to all the budget maneuvering this fiscal year, he said, "I don't think with 10 computers you could ever straighten it out.''

Sheriff Jim Ruth was elected for his first term in August 2010 after the current budget had been approved.

Former Sheriff Tim Gobble presented the previous budget during a time when many local governments were facing challenges because of the U.S. recession that began in 2008.

Budget hearings for the fiscal year that begins July 1 are scheduled to begin Tuesday.