Skip to Content

Putnam Budget Committee Discuss Future Costs Of Jail Expansion

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Budget Committee Discuss Future Costs Of Jail Expansion

Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris said 30 to 34 new jail employees will be required to open the new jail addition.

At Monday night’s county budget committee meeting, Farris said members should also anticipate about a 25 percent increase to each line item pertaining to the jail.

“I was hoping that in this budget I could ask for some of that funding to get us rolling, so it wouldn’t be such a heavy lift next year,” Farris said. “However, based on the requests and it being election year and all that, I did not.”

Farris said according to state average, the line item increase is the price to operate a newly constructed facility. Those items include anything from food to uniforms.

Committee Member Mike Atwood said he does not like the idea of paying for the jail costs all at one time.

“That’s scary,” Atwood said. “Scared me to death. That’s a big number with all the things. So my question I guess is what in this budget could we do that would I guess be justified, and yet help overcome that big number that comes next year.”

Farris said what would help now is funding for more correction officers. Farris echoed the sentiments of other department heads who presented Monday night in saying they have existing positions open they cannot fill. The Sheriff’s Office, for example, has seven jail positions it cannot fill. Farris said increasing salaries would help.

Farris said he would rather do that than address the line items.

“Let’s see what our number is,” Farris said, “We may be able to do less or we may have to do 25 percent, but I wouldn’t want to make that guess right now.”

Members also heard budget proposals from the fire department, 9-11 and EMS. Fire Chief Tom Brown requested three new fire fighters but also asked for employee raises.  Based on the hiring struggles, Chair Ben Rodgers suggested addressing pay first.

“We could give him 20 positions, but he can’t fill them unless you change the pay scale or do something different,” Rodgers said. “I’m not going to speak for everybody, but it sounds like we need to address pay before we address positions.”

The budget committee will meet again Thursday. Members will hear from Judicial Commissioners, the Solid Waste Department and possibly County Clerk Wayne Nabors.


The post Putnam Budget Committee Discuss Future Costs Of Jail Expansion appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.