County aims to trim $500K from ’19 budget during hearing


County officials will be tasked with trimming about $500,000 from the proposed 2019 budget during a meeting Wednesday in the courthouse annex in Brownstown.

Members of the county council will meet during a hearing to bring the budget to $12.5 million. The proposed budget requested by county department heads is at $13.02 million.

The council will have its regular monthly meeting at 8 a.m. and is expected to discuss the budget at 9 a.m.

After cuts are made, the county is expected to adopt the 2019 budget during a meeting Oct. 15.

There are a number of proposals for the council to prioritize, including how much more is needed when the new judicial center opens this fall.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers has requested five new employees to help with securing the $12.14 million 38,000-square-foot judicial center on Sugar Street adjacent to the annex and just east of the courthouse.

Four of the employees would provide security at the courthouse with one at the entrance and exit with another in the control room.

Carothers said the control room will monitor all areas of the center through surveillance.

“Somebody has to man that all the time, and we need someone manning the front all the time when someone comes in,” he said.

The center also will include scanners and metal detectors.

Security also will need to be provided in the courtrooms and hallways nearby while court is in session, Councilman Brian Thompson said. One will be needed to transport inmates from the jail to court hearings.

All three of Jackson County’s courts will be housed in the center with room for a fourth when it is needed.

Other county offices such as the public defender, clerk and probation offices, will be housed there, too.

It addition to the new center, the department will still provide security at the courthouse that houses county offices.

“It still needs some form of protection because people still get upset with officeholders there,” Thompson said. “There are other problems there where we need to keep it observed.”

The county’s maintenance department requested additional employees to clean the judicial center overnight.

Thompson said the county is looking to hire about three part-time employees or to contract the work to a local company.

He said the council will take a look at bigger items included in the budget and prioritize them and begin the process of cutting.

“There’s always something to cut,” he said. “We just have to take a look at everything and get it prioritized.”

The bonds for the 2000 construction of the Jackson County Jail and former juvenile detention center will be paid off in 2018, so tax revenues used to pay those bonds will now be used to pay for the judicial center.

Other items requested to the council for 2019 are two additional employees at the Jackson County Auditor’s Office, moving an employee from part time to full time in the child support office, among other items.

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What: Jackson County Council 2019 budget hearing

When: 8 a.m. Wednesday (budget discussion is expected at 9 a.m., following the regular monthly meeting)

Where: Jackson County Courthouse Annex, 220 E. Walnut St., Brownstown


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