Madison County continues effort to finalize budget

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Madison County Budget Committee took another step towards finalizing their 2021-22 budget, except for one department.

The committee met on Tuesday to hear changes and additional requests from Madison County departments regarding their 2021-22 budget.

The committee worked on getting everything approved, but couldn’t come to an agreement with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

“What we were hoping is that they would reduce that budget. They went up to about 25.5, and what we were looking for was around 24.1,” said Madison County Budget Committee Chairman Doug Stephenson.

“We sat for two or three hours going through it and trying to cut other areas, and so really our increase was very little, maybe $200,000 over our other budget,” said Madison County Sheriff John Mehr.

The sheriff is asking for three more positions, two dispatchers, and a K9 handler.

“What that does is that affects maintenance of effort on the number of employees. Right now, their full-time employees, they have 289 and with these three people, we’ve added to 292,” Stephenson said.

They also added raises and holiday pay to the budget, which was something that had already been discussed with the county.

Something that remains in question is the number of SROs due to the Jackson-Madison County School System making a change.

“The schools are not going to contribute. They’ve been contributing $250,000 for SROs, and they’re not going to do that. So we need to make sure that we’ve got that covered,” Stephenson said.

“We’re not in favor of taking SROs out of schools, but that’s up to the school system, what they want to do if they want to take two or three SROs out of schools. We feel that the safety of our children in this county is very important, especially in today’s world,” Mehr said.

The committee will not get final numbers on the sheriff’s budget until the school board makes a decision in their meeting this upcoming Thursday.

The committee adjourned the meeting and scheduled to continue Friday at 1 p.m.

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