Sheriff gets less than half of funds requested

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By Alice Du Pont

Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young didn't get the $500,000 he asked for during a county commission workshop last week, but commissioners did vote to give him $200,000. The money will be used to help the sheriff meet some of the operating costs at the jail that he says have caused his law enforcement budget to fall short.

"I've talked to the sheriff and he's fine with this. This is what we're doing and what we can afford. He knows the fiscal constraints this county is under," said Commission Chairman Eugene Lamb.

County Senior Financial Analyst Rick Hoffman said he evaluated the situation and identified $153,000 from the county’s coffers and $45,000 from cuts within the current budget.

Commissioner Sherrie Taylor said Young seemed frustrated when she talked with him about his budget.

"He's 19 deputies short. The way we're headed is not the right way," she said.

Clerk of Courts Nicholas Thomas advised commisssioners that there are still some budget problems they must address outside of the sheriff's budget. Specifically, he said, the board is already over budget because the former county manager and the interim county manager are being paid full salaries and attorney fees have already exceeded the $180,000 budgeted for the year.

"They cut $464,000 from my budget and I want to know where that money went. We'll be trying to figure out what to do with the $200,000, but it won't work. They will probably have to go back and amend the budget before the end of the year," Young said from Destin, where he is attending a Florida Sheriff's Association conference.

Following the vote to authorize the $200,000, Lamb asked the board to rescind last week's vote to have the attorney draft ordinance language to change the surtax to allow the sheriff's office to transfer at least $400,000 from capital outlay funds to operations.