Sheriff presents budget proposal to county amid active lawsuit

by | April 20, 2017 6:14 am

White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe (standing) presents his budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 during the April 18 meeting of White County’s budget committee. (Photo by BOBBY MCCULLEY)

Sheriff Oddie Shoupe has presented his budget for the upcoming fiscal year as county commissioners review his requests that mirror those stated in a lawsuit filed in late summer of 2016.

As previously reported by The Expositor, on Aug. 5, 2016, Shoupe had filed a lawsuit against White County in which he alleges the county had neglected to provide adequate funding to efficiently run the sheriff department.

On April 18, 2017, the White County Commission Budget Committee met to hear Shoupe’s proposal.

The sheriff’s proposed budget that was presented to the committee includes requests for four new deputy positions, two new detectives, a courtroom deputy, and an additional secretary. For operation of the jail, Shoupe requested 17 new correctional officer positions, which includes two new sergeant positions and one new lieutenant position.

The sheriff department’s proposed budget also requests that each employee receive a $2 per hour raise. According to Shoupe, the White County Sheriff Department covers approximately 1,250 miles of roadways. In 2016, the department responded to approximately 22,000 calls and conducted an estimate of 864 child abuse investigations.

“We are doing everything we can to save money and use every resource we have, but we are stretched to the max,” said Shoupe.

The proposed positions and wage increases are the same requests made by Shoupe in his lawsuit against the county. The proposed budget also requests the purchase of five new patrol cars, increasing the custodial budget from $25,000 to $50,000, and additional funding to replace various pieces of kitchen equipment at the jail. Another sizeable proposed expense in the budget is the inclusion of attorney fees estimated at $100,000.

Budget committee members asked Shoupe numerous questions and requested clarifications throughout the meeting. Members then focused on the potential costs of increasing the sheriff department’s budget and adding the new positions.

It was estimated the budget increase would be approximately $1,799,994. To fund this increase, it was suggested by committee members that the county would have to raise property taxes by 44 cents. As an example, commissioners stated that a property owner with a house appraised at $100,000 would see an increase of $110 in taxes.

The budget committee advised the sheriff that they would take the proposed budget under advisement as the committee moves forward with developing the next fiscal year budget.

The White County Budget Committee will meet again at 6 p.m., May 4, at the courthouse.

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