By Alyssa Schnugg
To keep up with the growing population of Lafayette County, the Sheriff’s Department is asking for more deputies and more vehicles.
The budget process for all county departments continued Thursday as the Board of Supervisors met with Sheriff Buddy East and Administrative Assistant Cathy Conner to go over the requested budget.
The sheriff’s department for the fiscal year 2017-2018 was $3.7 million. The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2018-2019 is $3.9 million.
The department is requesting six SUVs estimated at $37,500 each. The department is trying to switch over to more SUVs rather than the standard patrol car. They purchased five SUVs this fiscal year and Hill said they have worked out great.
Supervisor David Rikard questioned whether patrol cars would be better and faster.
“We don’t chase people,” said Chief Deputy John Hill. “We don’t drive at high speed. The SUVs provide more leg room and we’re getting fewer complaints about back pain.”
Hill said covering hundreds of square miles daily, patrol cars can take a beating.
“We’re putting an average of 60,000 miles on a vehicle each year,” he said, indicating that since SUVs can handle more mileage would last longer and eventually save the department money.
The sheriff is also asking for two additional deputies to help beef up patrols in the county.
Other requests include 17 tasers, new vests and radios for the additional vehicles—if approved—and more hand-held radios.
Once County Administrator Lisa Carwyle receives the actual revenue from taxes proposed for the next fiscal year, the supervisors will go over each budget again to see what the county can afford to pay for each department.
The supervisors will vote on the county budget in September.
Other budgets presented for review Thursday include:
- The Lafayette County Detention Center with a $3,185,965, up slightly from $3,142,560 in 2017-2018
- 911 Dispatch: with a $651,035 budget, up slightly from $638,457 in 2017-2018