Citizens for Better Government

Blount County Tennessee

The Sheriff's Mythical "Budget Cuts"

The Blount County budget was adopted on June 29. Typically, the budget did not provide all the funds that every department was seeking. Even so, a double digit tax increase was needed to fund County activities.

Most of our County department heads accepted their budget allotments and went to work trying to provide better services with the funds available. Unfortunately, the Sheriff seems to have decided to wage a public relations campaign aimed at obtaining a major budget increase.

He issued a press release saying that the drastic cuts in his budget would require him to limit patrols, park police cruisers, and take officers out of schools.

Next, he went before the Commissioners seeking more than $300,000 to, among other things, implement a state mandated program that requires drunk drivers to pick up litter on our highways. His request was shown to be wildly inflated, and was denied.

More recently, our children have been bringing home notices from the schools saying that the Sheriff is unable to provide officers in the schools because of the cuts to his budget.

There is only one problem with all this. The Commission fully funded the Sheriff's request for School Resource Officers. More important, the Sheriff's budget represents a substantial increase over last year's expenditures. Based on numbers taken directly from the County computer system, listed below is the record of the total expenditures made by the Sheriff for the last two years, and the current budget:

2004/2005         $14.8 million
2005/2006         $15.6 million
Budget 06/07     $16.2 million

The Sheriff would serve the Community better by spending less time on public relations and budget schemes designed to mislead the Commission and the public. Figuring out how to run his department efficiently would be more productive for himself and for our community.