UPDATE: In a special session of Commissioners’ Court Monday, commissioners approved the preliminary FY 2020 Budget.
The sheriff’s office was granted two additional deputies. Not five.
The final budget will be approved sometime in the next month or so and will become effective Oct. 1, 2019.
HENRIETTA (KFDX/KJTL) — Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons said the county has seen more tax revenue in Clay Co. from a wind farm and brick plant this year, $736,000 from those two sources. So he thinks a $323,000 budget increase to fund 5 more deputies would be worth the cost to provide more security to residents.
“I think it’s time,” Sheriff Lemons said. “We’ve got the money and I certainly have the priority and my only priority is to provide the best quality protection for the citizens of this county at the best amount of money. This would not add anymore new taxes if we use that money from those two entities to fund this budget request.”
County Judge Mike Campbell said it’s always a difficult task to balance the requests and needs of all the offices and departments in the county, he also said he sees the need for more deputies but knows the budget can only stretch so far.
“This is why we have a budget hearing is so that all the commissioners and the public can come in and say yes, we’re willing to allocate money for additional deputies,” Judge Campbell said. “What that may mean is an increase on taxes. One of the things that we do is try to hold the line on taxes, no one wants to raise taxes, but there comes a point in time when situations warrant that.”
Sheriff Lemons said a shortage of deputies on a quiet and uneventful day might not be so noticeable, but it can stretch resources too thin in some situations.
Such as a few months ago when he said a dangerous MS-13 crime gang member from the Metroplex led authorities on a chase, followed by 5-hour manhunt.
“That was a very dangerous situation and we didn’t have near enough people on the ground at the beginning,” Sheriff Lemons said. “But thank goodness for DPS and Bowie PD, Montague County and the Game Wardens. And that worked out really well, but that’s an instance when more manpower is needed.”
The final county budget will be voted on come September.
If you’re interested in becoming a Clay County deputy, call the office at (940) 538-5611 or visit the website by clicking here.