Jackson County sheriff's budget higher for 2015 as new jail comes on line

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PASCAGOULA, Mississippi — Jackson County's proposed budget to run its sheriff's department and jail for the 2015 fiscal year is several million more than last year.

But when comparing the individual line items and accounting for a new Adult Detention Center opening this year, the budgets are relatively flat.

The Mississippi Press reported (http://bit.ly/1wlCY5v) the proposed 2015 budget is $19.2 million, which includes $10.5 million for the sheriff's department and $8.7 million for the jail.

Last September, the county adopted a 2014 budget that allocated a total of $15.9 million, or $9.6 million to the sheriff's department and $6.25 million to the ADC.

County Comptroller Josh Eldridge says the 2015 budget calls for 10 new vehicles for the sheriff's department and one for the ADC, which is comparable to last year.

Perhaps the largest impact to this year's budget is the fact the county will open a $27.6 million, 752-bed jail in Pascagoula next year.

"So we're including in this budget the 12 new employees we will need to hire for about 25 percent of this fiscal year," Eldridge said.

The county's fiscal year runs from Oct.1 to Sept. 30.

Another difference is that sheriff's vehicles were once funded through a different county fund, but this year those costs are being included in the sheriff's department budget.

The 2015 budget calls for 10 new sheriff's vehicles and one for the jail, Eldridge said, which is comparable to last year.

Also, the sheriff's department and jail employ so many workers — about 200 — that the county's 3 percent pay raise and 15 percent increase in the cost of providing health insurance to those employees affects the overall budget significantly.

Information from: The Mississippi Press, http://www.gulflive.com

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