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Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Crime costs money

Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Updated: 8:28 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

LAKE PLEASANT -- Hamilton County Sheriff Karl Abrams is not a person who believes in robbing Peter to pay Paul, but that is in essence what he is being forced to do in an effort to live within his 2014 budget of $343,614 which is down $2,218 from his 2013 budget of $344,494.

Abrams meet with town supervisors during a board of supervisors committee meeting Monday, Aug. 25, and advised them he is in danger of running over budget on several lines.

The most glaring example of a line expected to go over budget before the end of the year is the line that pays for medical and dental expenses for prisoners. That line, budgeted at $10,000 for the entire year, was already down to $2,700 as of July 8.

Overtime pay is up, said Abrams, largely due to an increase in felony arrests (eight more than last summer), which requires deputies to do the investigative work required to make the arrests.

Many of these felony arrests are of people who are not county residents but come into the county and commit a crime. When a female is arrested and convicted, the added expense of paying $90 a day for incarceration outside the county (usually in Fulton County) is incurred. This has happened on several occasions  and results from the fact that the Hamilton County Jail is not equipped to house female prisoners.

Fighting crime to keep streets and homes safe has many unintended consequences that are spelled with dollar signs. Abrams pointed out that not only has this increase in felony arrests resulted in overtime to do the investigative work leading to an arrest, it also means the deputies spend less time out on the roads and that leads to fewer tickets being issued.

Abrams promised to create a spreadsheet for the supervisors to review and make recommendations where funds from several account lines might be transferred to accounts expected to run short, and present his recommendations in a resolution the supervisors will consider when they next meet Thursday, Sept. 4.

Arietta Supervisor Rick Wilt commented to Abrams, “I’ve always said your budget is too tight.”

peteklein@hamiltoncountyexpress.com

     

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