Quitman Co. leaders address budget deficit

By Chris Vessell - email

QUITMAN, GA (WTVM) - State budgets continue to suffer the effects of the recession. In Georgia's Quitman County, the Sheriff's Department is in danger of running out of cash.

Sheriff's deputies in Quitman County are operating on a shoestring budget. And even that may not be enough.

The current budget has been depleted. "There's been no waste. We've really cut corners, we've tried to get everything for free or nearly free...that we could get and we're still running short," said Steve Newton, Quitman County Sheriff.

According to commission chair Richard Morris, department is experiencing a $25,000 dollar deficit.

"This year, because of the lack of revenue, we have really depleted any kind of extra funding that we had in the budget," Morris said.

With two more weeks remaining, leaders aren't sure how they'll pay their expenses. The Commission Chair says the Sheriff could have prevented the deficit. "He took no responsibility to try to fix the problem, discuss it with us, talk about a solution, anything other than the fact that we're just going to have to fund him," Morris said.

"The former Sheriff last year in 2008 was budgeted $398,000, he spent 450,000 dollars," Newton said. Sheriff Newton says he warned the commission a month ago and the root of the problem dates back to the previous term.

"I don't make the expenses, I'm just trying to operate this office as cheap as I can and provide protection for the citizens of Quitman County," said Newton.

The commission chair tells us he plans to call a special meeting to address the budget situation this week. However, they are assuring deputies that they will be paid.

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