County Council reviews budget requests
By: Tim Murray - Monday, September 9, 2019

LAGRANGE – The LaGrange County Council is going through the 2020 county budget again today...and at least to start with...making few changes.

Among those defending budget increases was Circuit Court Judge William Walz.

"The big issue -- that risk assessment -- honestly we have that pre-trial summit here in a few weeks where everyone is dealing with that issue. The Supreme Court saying, everyone under [a] murder [charge] presumptively needs to be released; to figure out what we can do to monitor people if they are released; and also to assess people so we figure out what bond is appropriate to make sure the community is safe. There are some counties getting full-time employees to do that."

Walz also raised some budget items to fall in line with Superior Court expenditures.

Council approves of the commissioners’ recommendation for a 3% pay increase for county employees. But later in the afternoon they increased it to 4%. They denied a higher request – nearly 9% – from Emergency Management Director Don Wismer. Wismer’s request for a deputy emergency manager also lacked support from council.

Council did support a request from Sheriff Jeff Campos to created a new sergeant position in the sheriff’s department. That person would be available at the jail during the day to handle walk-in issues...thus keeping road deputies on the road.

Campos and Chief Deputy Tracy Harker told council they’ve hired Bill Stewart to become the new nuisance enforcement officer.


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