DAWSONVILLE Ga. – A report issued by Dawson County Manager David Headley during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting indicates first-term Sheriff Jeff Johnson, who is threatening to sue the county for a bigger 2018 budget, received an increase of close to $1 million over the 2017 budget.
The sheriff’s budget for the current year is $6,822,566. The approved budget for 2018 is $7,365,547, an increase of $542,981. But Headley points out the sheriff’s office also will receive an increase of nearly half a million dollars in SPLOST funding and an additional $300,000 in capital funding.
Headley’s report indicated the sheriff’s office has received a budget increase in each of the last four years, including next year’s increase of $985,277.
The county manager took exception to a statement made by attorney Joey Homans, who represents the sheriff’s office, at a recent town hall meeting. Homans said commissioners refused to “sit down at the table” to negotiate a budget resolution.
“The notion that we have refused to meet over these matters is just wrong,” Headley said in his report. “The sheriff made his request for a large budget back in July. Since then, we have had several public meetings and hearings and the sheriff and his attorney were allowed to speak as much as they wanted. One of those meetings was a special called meeting held specifically for discussion of the sheriff’s budget.”
He added that the county has repeatedly reached out to the sheriff to offer assistance in matters such as human resources, finance and purchasing, grants and maintenance. “We have a well-trained staff and policies in place which can help with compliance with the law and doing things in the most efficient and economical way,” Headley said. “Our offers have frequently been ignored or declined.”
Headley said he chose to issue his report to clear up much of the confusion and misinformation that exists regarding the dispute between the county and the sheriff.
Johnson has often stated that he needs more officers on patrol, but Headley countered by saying, “Of the sheriff’s position requirements, none are for patrol. He asked for four detention officers for the jail (his top priority), a school resource officer, a communications officer, an investigator, accreditation manager and court services deputy.”
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