Meigs County Sheriff's Office put on quarterly spending plan

Published: Feb. 21, 2020 at 9:42 AM EST
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Transporting inmates to and from jail is creating budget issues for one sheriff's department in our area.

Meigs County commissioners say the sheriff's department went over last year's budget by 171 percent.

To avoid overspending, Meigs County commissioners made history Thursday by voting to shift the sheriff's office spending budget from yearly to quarterly.

That move will allow the county to track every taxpayer dollar more closely without compromising county services.

“As far as we know, it's never been done in the county for any office holder,” Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith said. “So it's kind of a new step for us.”

Smith says this type of spending could result in layoffs and budget cuts for other county offices.

“We do a good job to allocate the amounts that people need to pull off their function,” Smith said. “But when we get overspending at this rate, it threatens the possibility of layoffs. It threatens the possibility of other officeholders losing money from their budgets to try to compensate.”

Deputies say they are doing everything they can to curb spending without risking the safety of the county, saying they only have six cells at the county jail.

When they have to transport inmates, it costs the county more money to care for them and their transportation, as well as deputy overtime.

The sheriff's department has weekly meetings to help keep costs down, something commissioners say they eagerly want to now help them fix.

The quarterly spending plan for the Meigs County Sheriff's Office will take effect immediately, with the first evaluation coming at the end of the second quarter on June 30.

Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood says that he'll be announcing his budget plan on Monday. He also says he was in favor of the quarterly plan.