Sheriff: Department budget was presented on time

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, April 28, 2022

Reports that the Carter County Sheriff’s Department has failed to submit its budget for the upcoming fiscal year are untrue, Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said on Thursday.
“We presented our budget on the 12th to the budget committee and they didn’t like some formatting on the payroll side, so we resubmitted that even though we had to do it manually,” Lunceford said.
Lunceford said since that date, members requested the department representatives appear before the budget committee to review the budget.
“I guess they were wanting us to come back in and answer questions on that sheet,” Lunceford said. “And that’s fine. We will do so next week.”
Lunceford said he contacted the chairman of the budget committee and other county officials letting them know neither he nor Chief Deputy James Parrish could attend budget hearings scheduled for last Thursday and Monday nights.
“We called and asked to put it off until next week,” Lunceford said, citing ongoing meetings and work relating to the new communications system being developed for the county.
So, when committee members said Monday that the department could be forced to accept a provisional budget for failing to appear before the group, Lunceford took offense.
“The next thing I know I’m reading in the newspaper that we’ve not submitted a budget, and that’s absolutely not true,” he said.
Lunceford, who has been sheriff for eight years, said his department has always submitted its budget in the March-April timeframe for approval by the budget committee and county commission. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
“We always submit our budget on time and have never been late,” he said. “In my opinion, this is politically motivated.”
Lunceford is seeking re-election this year and the primary elections are May 3. While he said he doesn’t want “to throw rocks; that doesn’t accomplish anything,” Lunceford does believe the public should know that the department has met its obligations.
“We have not had any contact from the committee since we asked them to postpone until next week,” he said. “We told them we would be there any time next week to answer any questions they have on the submitted budget.”
Chief Deputy James Parrish, who helped coordinate and present the budget, said the department’s budget is typically between $8.8 and $8.9 million and this year’s budget includes a 2.5 percent increase. “That’s largely due to an increase in the costs of gasoline, food and medical,” he said.

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