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The Banks County Board of Commissioners approved salary increases for the sheriff’s department in budget hearings held last week.
The BOC approved a salary increase of $2,000 each for the road patrolman. The county has 48 patrolmen.
The BOC also approved salary increases for the sheriff and chief deputy. The sheriff’s salary was approved at $78,800, while the chief salary was set at $65,000.
The BOC also added money to the budget to fund two more jailer positions. The cost for the two positions is $92,000, however, the BOC will be able to cut over-time pay that had been budgeted.
The sheriff said the positions are needed due to the current needs at the jail.
“We can’t shut down the jail,” he said.
The sheriff added that the department has “500 warrants not served because there is nowhere to put them.”
The BOC also met with Superior Court judge Joe Booth and court administrator Steve Neveils to discuss a request for a clerk for the court administrator. The position will be funded by Banks, Jackson and Barrow counties, which the Banks County portion being $4,872.
During the discussion, the commissioners brought up earlier concerns about being part of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit. Last year, the Banks BOC looked at leaving the circuit to join the Mountain Judicial Circuit. The Superior Court judges appealed to the commissioners and no action was taken.
At the budget hearing last week, the commissioners told Judge Booth about the comment the sheriff made earlier about 500 warrants not being served. The sheriff was not present for the meeting with Booth and Neveils.
“That is absolutely absurd,” Judge Booth said, questioning the 500 number.
He added that the judges “hold as much court here as we need to.”
BOC Chairman Jimmy Hooper said the issue has been with the district attorney’s office.
“The relationship between the sheriff and district attorney is at an impasse,” he said.
Judge Booth said, “We don’t’ run the district attorney’s office.”
For more coverage from the budget hearing, see this week’s issue of the Banks County News.