Budget Season Sparking Discussion in Walton County - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Budget Season Sparking Discussion in Walton County

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It's budget season in Walton County and with a 10.6 million dollar increase over last year's budget and a potential increase in the millage rate, it's causing some discussion.

The Sheriff's Office has asked for $1.68 million to fund six new school resource deputies for the elementary schools and some additional personnel

The SRD program cost is split 50/50 between the Sheriff's Office and the School District, but not if the Board of Commissioners has their way.

"The Sheriff's Office is asking for almost a 2 million dollar increase. They are asking for some officers for the schools to serve in the elementary schools. We've asked the School Board to pay for almost 75 percent of that. We think they will," said commissioner meadows.

School Superintendent, Carlene Anderson, said she's never heard their request; not from the Board and not from the Sheriff's Office.

Anderson has presented a tentative budget to the school board, who would have the ultimate say on funding SRD's by 75%, but she said there have been no earmarks at this time for these increases.

Anderson said that the money simply isn't there to increase their contribution and, as vitally important as the SRD program is for all schools, their school safety grant funding has decreased by $6300 by the state this year.

She added that all schools in Walton currently have SRD's and she wasn't aware of the proposal by the sheriff's office to add 6 more.

Still, whether adding them or keeping the same number, she said the numbers don't add up.

"If we were to say we want more, or we want the same and we must pay 75 percent, then I would have to look at the school board and say, "what do you want to cut?" because it's not little small pots and pieces of money that you look for. You end up having to cut personnel," said Anderson.

News 13 asked Meadows to explain where the Board's certainty came from that the District would pay 75%.

Meadows said interim County Attorney Mark Davis, who also sits on the school board, seemed aware of the proposal and believed the school board would agree.

News 13 tried to reach Davis for comment Monday, but he was unavailable.