Sheriff trims $30,000 from budget

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By The Staff

By Jimmie Earls

Sun Staff Writer

Washington County Fiscal Court approved a leaner version of the 2009 budget for Sheriff Tommy Bartley Monday morning. The approved budget of $486,100 was $30,000 less than the one for $516,100 submitted Dec. 22. At the December meeting, the court asked county departments to look for ways to tighten their budgets due to lower-than-expected tax revenues for the county.

Half of the cuts in the sheriff's budget come from scaling back expenses for court security officers and bailiffs at the new county judicial center. The original budget estimate requested $115,000 from the fiscal court to pay for salaries, FICA and outfitting and equipping the CSOs. The approved budget asked for $100,000, which includes $40,000 for deputy salaries, $30,000 for the sheriff's salary, $25,000 for FICA and $5,000 for CSO equipment and uniforms.

In other business

Washington County EMS Director Mark Hale announced the new rate increases for the ambulance service effective immediately. The fee for non-emergency basic life support service and emergency BSL will remain the same at $450 and $500 respectively. Basic life support involves non-evasive action, using mostly CPR and the use of oxygen. Advanced life support fees will increase from $550 to $650 for non-emergency calls and from $550 to $700 for an emergency ALS response. A fee of $750 will be charged for an ALS 2 call where more than three drugs must be administered.

The court held the first reading of an ordinance establishing the Washington County Cemetery Board. The board will consist of five members selected by county Judge/Executive John A. Settles and must be approved by the fiscal court. Each member will serve a four-year term and no more than three members may be in the same political party, however initial appointment terms are as follows: two members appointed to a one-year term, two members appointed to a two-year term and one member appointed to a three-year term. The board will oversee the restoration and maintenance of cemeteries that do not receive perpetual care funds and also has the authority to apply for and receive federal and state grants.

Repair work was completed last Friday on the Haydon Brothers bridge. Lebanon Machine Shop installed new beams and decking and the bridge was opened for traffic Friday evening.

The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 23 at 9 a.m.