Comanche County_After Tuesday morning's budget meeting, it appears that Comanche County is in good shape for this year's budget. It could change, but the current projected figure is approved - it is over $9.2 million. The bulk of it would go to the sheriff's department and long overdue raises for the deputies. The remainder of the budget, may be invested in a "State Longevity Pay Plan" for long-term employees. The plan would recognize employees who have been employed with the county long-term.
The pay plan would cost the county nearly $500,000 for all employees. Commissioner Ron Kirby says that although it's a big jump in cost, it's much needed - especially for the sheriff's department. "The problem is, for years the sheriff's office has always complained they were behind," says Kirby. "This is gonna get them there, real fast, in a real big leap." The county says that nearly half of the $500,000 will go to raises in the department - ranging from 40-42%. Currently a starting deputy earns $1,500 per month, but with an increase, the pay would be $1,900.
Within the last five months, the sheriff's department lost five deputies, and Sheriff Ken Stradley says low salaries are to blame - he says three deputies were lost to the Lawton Police Department.
Another main point of discussion was the sheriff's department funds. Some members of the Excise Board say they believe the department has enough money for expenses since there was some roll-over funding from last year. Stradley declined to comment until after he meets with the board. The budget meeting will continue on Wednesday, but it will be closed to the public. The hearing on the budget will be open to the public on Wednesday, August 20.
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