Chickashanews.com

July 26, 2013

Weir looks for extra funds as excise board prepares to vote on budget

BY TIFFANY MARTINEZ
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir is hopeful of excise board budget presentations on July 30.

Last month, he made known the submission of a daring proposal of department funds that, if granted, would boost the current budget by more than 70 percent.

He insists the boost in finances is imperative, however, to sufficiently running his public safety office.

“Over the past four or five years, we have fallen behind,” Weir said, emphasizing vehicle replacement needs, hiring expenses, fuel assessments and needed equipment.

The sheriff’s department budget has increased only 1.53 percent since 2008, and the overall county budget has grown 10.7 percent since then.

“We’ve asked what other counties are starting their deputies out at,” Weir said. “And we are the lowest paying county of all the surrounding counties. If we want to keep our good, quality people we need to be competitive.”

An increase in pay for his deputies is the main priority as of now, followed by vehicle maintenance and replacement. The proposed budget would allow for more than just catching up, though. Weir has plans of hiring four additional deputies, two of which would provide school and courthouse security.

Though the excise board will reach a decision Tuesday, granted funds will not be seen until the fall.