The third and final day of the 2020 Pettis County Budget Hearings with the Pettis County Commission concluded Thursday with proposals from Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond, Public Administrator Charli Ackerman and Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sawyer.

Due to the increased caseloads in both their offices, Bond and Sawyer requested additional personnel for their respective departments. 

“The caseload through the prosecutor’s office is vastly increased and the need for investigative expertise was noted as well as the necessity of an additional prosecutor,” Presiding Commissioner David Dick commented following Thursday’s hearings. “The sheriff's request reflects the increase in volume in the number of inmates housed which adds to food costs and upkeep on the jail.”

Bond requested the hiring of one additional deputy at $34,112 in salary with an additional uniform cost of $660. He is also requesting the addition of two jailers. The request is for a total of $54,984 which includes salaries and uniform allotments.

With an inmate population that averages more than 190 prisoners per week, the jail serves an average of 640 meals per day, according to Bond. He has requested an additional $50,000 in   food service costs for 2020.

Bond also requested an additional patrol vehicle at $50,000 as well as an increase of $15,000 in medical and supply costs and vehicle repairs.

Sawyer requested one additional investigator and an additional assistant prosecuting attorney. The salary for these positions is based on experience. Sawyer requested an additional $100,000 for salaries for the two positions. He noted the starting salary for a public defender averages $52,000. 

Ackerman requested raises for her staff and the purchase of a new office tablet computer. Both Sawyer and Bond also requested raises for their staff if possible.

Dick, Eastern Commissioner Israel Baeza and Western Commissioner Jim Marcum along with Pettis County Auditor Beverly Dillion will now begin a review of all submitted requests. No approval of any requests is made during the initial three-day hearings. 

“Obviously we will have further discussion regarding the necessity and need of the requests,” Dick said. “Also, we need to get the best estimate on revenue projections.”

Once those numbers are in, a final budget will be prepared. All office holders and boards will have the opportunity to review the budget for accuracy. It is then presented to the public for a 10-day review period in January prior to the commission’s vote. By state statute, the county budget must be balanced.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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