Madison Co. commissioners deny sheriff’s request for more money

JACKSON, Tenn.– During Monday’s County Commission meeting, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office requested an additional $168,000 to fund meals at the prison.

Some commissioners understand the additional need.

“It’s hard to try to maintain a budget with a business or an organization like the jail,” James Pearson, District 5, said.

Others, however, say Sheriff John Mehr has spent too much of taxpayers’ money.

“It’s unsustainable right now. Over the past six years, the sheriff’s department’s budget has gone up over $6.5 million,” Jason Compton, District 10, said.

The commission voted 15 to 9 to not provide the funding.

“Really, I got up just to make sure that people understood that my ‘no’ vote on this has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the food for the prisoners, but has everything to do with just the overall budget of the sheriff’s department running over right now,” Compton said.

After the meeting, several commissioners asked to speak with their attorney to see what comes next after the vote.

“We talked about some of the options that may be available in a situation like that,” Pearson said.

Did commissioners take into account if the sheriff will be able to feed the prisoners?

“He can find it in his budget,” Compton said. “He’s got money. He moved $200,000 today to cover other items. He can find it.”

The sheriff’s office had no comment on the vote.

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