By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hall sheriff proposes budget increase
More money would help provide security for courthouse annex
Placeholder Image

Hall County Sheriff’s Office

FY2015 budget: $28.7 million

FY2016 request: $30.5 million

What’s new: Sheriff Gerald Couch said his office is looking to purchase a new records management system, a new locking system for the jail and will provide security for the planned reopening of the courthouse annex later this year.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is proposing to spend a little bit more money in the next fiscal year, with the biggest increase coming from the planned reopening of the courthouse annex later this year to serve probate and juvenile cases.

The office proposed a $30.5 million budget for the 2016 fiscal year, according to documents obtained through an open records request, up from about $28.7 million this year.

Sheriff Gerald Couch laid out his goals and priorities for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, in an interview with The Times last week.

While Couch described the proposed budget as fairly consistent with previous years, a few spending needs are paramount this year, he said.

The court’s budget would jump to about $2.5 million from $1.8 million with the reopening of the courthouse annex.

Couch said his office must provide security for the courts, and additional personnel, as well as security equipment, is needed to meet this mandate.

Couch said he needs at least eight deputies to maintain safety, and security alone accounts for about $450,000 in expenses when personnel costs and equipment are added up.

Couch is also asking for increases to the jail’s budget. He said the locking system needs replacing.

“Locks are very important in a jail,” he said. “So that’s a priority that we get that done.”

The jail’s budget is estimated at about $14 million, up from about $13.5 million this year.

Meanwhile, increases in the administrative budget are meant to go toward the purchase and implementation of a new records management system, which Couch said would help with crime analysis and timelier reporting of cases to the public. 

“We desperately need that,” he added.

Meanwhile, the special operations division is requesting just about $2 million, down from $2.24 million.

Reorganization and cost cutting are always in the works, Couch said.

The patrol division is budgeting a slight increase to about $5 million from $4.7 million, with additional spending likely related to equipment purchases.

Couch reports that property crimes, including first-degree burglaries and entering autos, are falling, but the Sheriff’s Office is always hiring to meet demands.

Couch said the jail is where new recruits get their start, with promotions to patrol and investigations coming from within.