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March 5, 2013

Sheriff's funding request to go before excise board

DUNCAN —  

The Board of Stephens County Commissioners recommended that the Stephens County Excise Board approve a supplement to the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office budget in the amount of $261,365.48 to allow the department operate until July. 
The recommendation is expected to be approved at 9 a.m. today.
Sheriff Wayne McKinney and Undersheriff John Smith approached the Stephens County Board of Commissioners Monday to discuss the supplement in response to the $204,000 budget cut in their 2012-13 budget.
“We were the sacrificial lamb in this situation,” Sheriff Wayne McKinney said in reference to the budget cuts incurred in August 2012.
During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the department operated at $550,000. The cut left the department at a budget of $350,000. The sheriff’s office was the only county office told to operate under a tighter budget.
The sheriff’s office was expected to operate out of cash funds that are currently held by the sheriff. However, McKinney said the cash funds are meant to enhance the sheriff’s budget — not to be figured in as part of it.
“We do not frivolously spend money,” McKinney said. “We have been very good stewards of the money. We have been able to grow that just like you would a business. That is what I am here for. That is what I am elected to do. I am also elected to protect the people of the county. Right now, that is becoming harder and harder to do. We have pretty serious comp time issues that is going to cause legal ramification on us and the county eventually. These are areas that are going to have to be addressed.”
One reason these issues have been magnified is the five percent raise that was given to all county employees with this budget, he noted. Additionally, the sheriff’s office needs to hire more deputies to be operating at minimum staff levels.

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