Board of Supervisors discusses Sheriff’s Department budget

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison and Chief Deputy Shane Tucker discuss the Sheriff Department's budget request for next year.  Photo by Julia Arenstam

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison and Chief Deputy Shane Tucker discuss the Sheriff Department’s budget request for next year, including a possible wage increase.
Photo by Julia Arenstam


The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors held their second budget workshop on Wednesday. Board members heard testimony from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and the Chancery Clerk’s office.

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison said the department is currently under its $3 million budget for 2015-2016.

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Allison submitted a request for a total budget of $3,294,262 for the next year in order to provide deputies and jail personnel with a pay raise.

He said the department has lost many officers to other agencies like the Poplarville Police Department and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department because they offer higher wages, with fewer responsibilities.

Allison said the budget increase would also be used for increases in social security, workman’s compensation and retirement matching.

Currently, starting deputies earn about $15/hour and jail staff earn about $11/hour.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said the department has downsized significantly since 2008 when it employed 125 people. It now only employs 83 people.

“Everyone is having to assume more responsibility to provide the same services,” Tucker said.

“We’re answering a lot more calls and dealing with a lot more stuff than we were eight years ago,” Allison said.

Allison and Tucker said there is a relatively high turnover specifically in the jail. They hope to correct it by conducting pre-employment polygraphs as part of the interview process.

“It costs us every time we hire somebody and let them go a month later,” Board Vice President Hudson Holliday said.

Even with the raise, Allison said, the department would still be offering lower wages than both Poplarville and Lamar County.

However, Allison noted several areas the department has been able to spend less than was originally budgeted.

Because of low gas prices, the department has spent $157,000 out of its allocated $303,000 to last year’s budget.

Allison said they have also saved a large amount of money on materials, hardware and building and repair in the jail.

Allison also submitted a request for 10 new patrol vehicles, as well as a jail transport vehicle.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin advised the Board that by purchasing 10 vehicles and financing them over a four-year period with a low interest rate, the county would pay about $60,000/year.

He compared the price to purchasing two vehicles for roughly $50,000/year and said it would be a better use of county funds to enter into a four-year cycle of introducing eight to 10 vehicles/year into the fleet.

Tucker said the last few vehicles purchased by the department came with more than 200,000 miles.

In addition to the $3,294,262 requested for the Sheriff’s Department, Allison also requested $3,202,200 for the jail, an increase of $50,200, mostly for pay increases.

The Board will continue to hold budget workshops until a final budget is approved on Sept. 15. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. and the Board will have their regular meeting Aug. 17 at 9 a.m.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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