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Sheriff Morgan releases budget to county commissioners

ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --  Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan just submitted the first budget proposal for the next fiscal year with a big increase.

The request comes as a shock to some in these budget belt tightening times.
The sheriff is asking for 95 million dollars.
He wants to add 95 new jobs at the county jail.
He's also wants overtime and holiday pay for deputies.

We are early in the budget process for Escambia County but there's already a hornets nest that's been stirred up by this.

This is the request from Sheriff David Morgan asking for almost 19-million dollars more than his budget for last year.

A lot of that centers on this building behind me, the jail.

It's the focus of our Waste Watch report.
The county asked for a jail staffing study several years ago and the sheriff says that study calls for adding 95 employees at the county jail to meet ?.

Doing so would add more than six million dollars to the budget.
The department is also asking for an increases of more than eight million dollars to cover overtime and holiday pay for staff.

Sheriff Morgan says his deputies haven't had a raise in seven years.
Sheriff David Morgan/Escambia County
"It's hard data. It is what it is. I mean it's not something that we at the sheriff's office sat down one day and decided wouldn't this be a good idea to give the county commission a 95 million dollar budget. Now that smacks of insanity doesn't it."

Gene Valentino/Escambia County Commissioner
"I thoroughly support raises for all employees in this county. And I'm really proud of our law enforcement team in this county. I think the approach stinks."

Commissioner Gene Valentino and other members of the board are refuting the findings of the jail study saying the information is faulty and out of date.

People we talked to today support local law enforcement but would rather see any additional money spent somewhere other than the jail.

May Watkins/Escambia County Resident
"No. I'm not in agreement for that. Not for the jail. If it was officers out to help people in the neighborhood or checking on things like that, that would be different."

The budget process will play out in front of the Board of County Commissioners in the months to come, and we'll keep an eye on it for you.

You can watch our full interview with Sheriff Morgan on our website, weartv.com, under Raw News.