Sheriff Blair Budget Request
Last fiscal year Marion County Commission funded about $67 million for the Marion County Sheriff's Office, but Sheriff Chris Blair said this year his agency needs more money.
"As a constitutional officer I have an obligation to inform them of being understaffed and we are definitely understaffed," said Sheriff Blair.
At first Sheriff Blair requested an extra $17.4 million, but then reduced it to $8.2 million.
He said the agency is short staffed by 286 deputies. There are only 140 deputies currently on staff.
"It's going to take a long time for a deputy sheriff to arrive from one location to another because the man power we have," said Blair.
The extra $8.2 million would be used to hire 20 patrol deputies, 26 correctional officers, purchasing 50 new patrol cars and other needs.
A total of 154 cars have over 100,000 miles.
"It is a danger for the deputy sheriff's to be driving cars at a high rate of speed with that large amount of mileage. If you look across the state, most agencies get rid of their vehicles between 50,000 to 80,000 miles," said Blair.
On Friday Blair gave commissioners his new request, but commissioners still don't agree.
"EVen with the revised budget we were given last Friday, we are still at $8.2 million, which means we would still have to raise taxes," said Marion County Commissioner Chris Blair.
Something commissioners are not willing to do.
"The commission has made a determination that we are not going to raise taxes. We are just not going to do it," said McClain.
Commissioner McClain said he and county staff will analyze the budget request to see where additional cuts can be made.
"Their job is not to run the Marion County Sheriff's Office, that's the sheriff's job. Their job is to find proper funding to make sure we keep the people here the citizens safe," said Blair.
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