ACSO asks for raises, TahoesPublished 12:17am Friday, August 17, 2012
NATCHEZ — New cars, a 10-percent pay raise and the creation of a school resource officer position were requests the Adams County Sheriff’s Office put before the county Board of Supervisors at their budget hearing Thursday.
Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said the request for the raises was submitted because sheriff’s office employees, “haven’t had any (raise) in a while, and we have taken on a lot more work.”
Sheriff’s deputies have dangerous work, Mayfield said, and often the supervisors and the public at large doesn’t hear about it.
County Administrator Joe Murray said the supervisors are considering giving all county employees a 5 percent raise, and if that is done the deputies could be included.
The sheriff also requested money for six new vehicles — police edition Chevrolet Tahoes, all of which Mayfield said would be used for patrol — but the supervisors ultimately told Murray to budget for three of the requested vehicles.
The total cost for six new Tahoes would be approximately $156,000. Murray said the county would be retiring $76,000 in debt service owed on vehicles for the sheriff’s office at the end of the year, and Supervisor Mike Lazarus said Murray could do the math and see how many new vehicles could be purchased for that price.
“You could just change paying one note for another note,” Lazarus said. “It’ll be a wash.”
Supervisor David Carter said when the county purchased nine new Tahoes earlier this year, the supervisors had discussed the possibility of buying a few new vehicles every year so the county didn’t get into the situation of having to buy so many new trucks at once.
The sheriff said deputies will put between 25,000 and 35,000 miles on a patrol unit annually, and Murray said he hoped that the sheriff’s office could get more life out of the Tahoes than they have out of other vehicles. Mayfield responded that concern about vehicle life span was one of the reasons that the sheriff’s office wanted to buy the Tahoes.
Murray said he planned to reduce the sheriff’s office’s vehicle maintenance budget by $5,000 because he believed the new vehicles would require less maintenance than the older models they replaced.
In other news:
– Mayfield also requested the supervisors approximately double the allocation given to his office to provide for medical services for the jail.
Currently, the county spends $37,000 annually to have a nurse practitioner on call for emergencies. Mayfield said he would like to contract with the company Southern Health Partners for $78,000 annually to have an on-call nurse who also spends 20 hours a week at the jail. The nurse will also have a doctor on call for situations that require a doctor, Mayfield said.
“They will pay for all the medication, administer all the medicine and they have all the liability on the medical,” Mayfield said. “The problem with contracting with the nurse practitioner is they have jobs and a lot of times it is hard for them to get over here when we need them.”
Mayfield said he is likewise uncomfortable with jailers dispensing medication because they have no medical training and a mistake on their part would be a liability for the sheriff’s office.
“If we have something a nurse or doctor can come to the jail to handle, it saves us the cost of transporting (prisoners) to the emergency room or hospital,” he said. “The main thing is the dispensing of medication, that really concerns me.”
Murray said he has spoken with officials in Madison County, which uses the service, and said Madison County officials are extremely happy with it.
– Mayfield requested the supervisors create a position for a school resource officer at Morgantown School.
Since the Natchez-Adams County School District is being reorganized, Morgantown will be a middle school.
“I feel like we probably need a school resource officer for that,” Mayfield said. “I am thinking we are going to be getting a lot of calls going back and forth out there with our limited manpower.
“The officer can do some programs out there for us, but they are also a presence out there.”
– The supervisors met with road manager Robbie Dollar, who requested the supervisors purchase a bulldozer for his department. The supervisors said the purchase could partially be funded by the sale of older equipment.
Dollar also requested the supervisors provide funds for three new employees. The road department currently has 35 employees, including Dollar. Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said at one time the department had 78 employees but through attrition had been cut down to a bare bones operation.
“I don’t have enough men to run the limb truck and the pothole patcher and the grass crews at the same time,” Dollar said.
– The supervisors agreed to have Grennell and Supervisor Calvin Butler work together to find out more information about creating the position of litter patrol officer.
Murray said the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality would fund 50 percent of the litter officer’s salary for two years.
“If they see that it is successful, they will increase (the funding) 25 percent the third year,” Murray said. “And if they see we have a litter policy that is stronger in wording than the state’s — and we do — they will increase it another 10 percent.”
Adams County’s litter ordinance allows for a $1,000 fine to be levied against litterers. Murray said if the litter patrol officer wrote five tickets a month the position would be funded.