GARRARD COUNTY, KY (Lex 18) – In just under three months, the Garrard County Police Department will be no more, and the Sheriff’s Office will take over all law enforcement within the county.
The change leaves county leaders with a number of tough decisions, including figuring out a new budget. At Monday’s Fiscal Court meeting, the typically mundane topic turned into much more.
“This what you proposed. You proposed right here 8 officers and $208,000. That’s a lot different than what you’re dropping on us tonight in an open meeting,” said Judge Executive John Wilson while addressing Sheriff Tim Davis’ budget requests.
While the Fiscal Court has final say on the budget for the next fiscal year, Sheriff Tim Davis gave suggestions regarding his department before a first reading of Judge Wilson’s proposal.
Sheriff Davis asked to have nine deputies on his payroll. Judge Executive Wilson said he alotted money for eight in the budget after speaking with the Sheriff about it during a past meeting.
The gap between the two proposals amounts to $111,830.53.
“I want to sit down and make sure their budget supports my budget,” said Sheriff Davis. “Both budgets hinge off each other.”
The disagreement comes as Garrard County gets ready to dissolve its Police Department and give all responsibility to the Sheriff’s Office.
At the same time, the county faces a budget crunch due to increased retirement contribution rates and jail costs.
Judge Wilson said the county residents made it clear they don’t want to raise taxes this year, so cuts to public services are the only option.
“These guys are making a real difference here, and as we make cuts you’re going to see a decline in the cuts made to the public,” said Judge Executive Wilson. “Yeah, I’m very concerned about that.”
The switch in law enforcement agencies also comes as Garrard County Police investigate several big cases, such as the disappearance of Savannah Spurlock and investigation into cameras found in a funeral home bathroom.
Sheriff Davis said his office will simply take the reigns.
“We’ve got three months left before that changeover occurs, but a lot of those same guys have applied so they can keep right on with what they’re doing,” Sheriff Davis said.
Garrard County’s Fiscal Court passed the first reading of the Judge’s budget Monday night. At the request of the Sheriff, the magistrates will hold a workshop before giving it a second reading.