By Mark Thomason, Publisher:
It marked the first time in history Tuesday night that elected officials were asked to publicly explain their 2017 proposed budgets and did so. Prior to the bimonthly Fannin County Board of Commissioners meeting a host of individuals were on hand to present the commission board as well as the public with detailed accounts of their upcoming years budget.
Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby opened the meeting as he asked the commission board to please consider improving nearly a $400000 increase in his budget. Kirby said the increase comes as a result of state law enforcement officers being given a salary increase and he would like to offer his staff a 16.73% pay increase for 2017. He then told the board he lost 4 of his best men in the last two weeks to Union County Ga Sheriffs office because Union already pays more than Fannin. Commissioner Earl Johnson questioned the $400000 increase and remarked that it seemed to be a huge increase to absorb in one year. He later stated he did feel like Fannin needed to do whatever necessary to keep trained deputies.
District Attorney Alison Sosebee was next, giving a nearly half hour long power point presentation explaining all of her offices responsibilities. Sosebee had no real increase in her proposed budget.
Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver also had a minimal increase in her proposed budget for 2017. Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee did note he felt that Judge Weaver should seek approval from the board before spending any monies from a judges operating account Weaver maintains. Last year it was reported that Weaver authorized nearly $16000 from the judges operating account to be used to pay personal bills. Sosebee stressed the board consider upholding his recommendation.
Probate Judge Scott Kiker requested nearly a $70000 increase as he looked to continue to modernize and streamline the probate office.
Coroner Becky Callihan only asked for a $10000 increase to purchase a cooler allowing the county to properly store deceased bodies before tranferring them to the crime lab. Currently she said the local funeral homes are assisting the county in storing the bodies, which is a liability to all parties involved.
The Focus will have a full breakdown of each and every departments budgets from 2016 and the proposed 2017 budget numbers posted soon.