The Marshall County Fiscal Court unanimously approved an amended Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget Friday, with further financial discussion set for June 30 as the court debates how to bridge financial constraints imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Debate over the 2020-2021 budget has heavily featured the funding of school resource officers, or SROs. Controversy around SRO funding erupted in April when county Judge-Executive Kevin Neal declined to sign a grant application that would have sought federal dollars for three new deputies to patrol the district’s elementary schools. Neal later called the SRO program a “bureaucratic layer” of government and proposed shifting the funding and administration of the program away from the sheriff’s office. County residents rallied on June 16 in support of the current SRO funding model, which splits the cost of the deputies between the school district during the academic year and the county during school breaks (SROs serve as patrol deputies when school is not in session).
All three county commissioners previously expressed opposition to changing the way SROs are funded. Second District Commissioner Kevin Spraggs told WKMS after Friday’s vote that he is pleased with how the appropriations process turned out, despite bumps along the way.
“I am just ecstatic about getting an officer in every school,” Spraggs said. “We had more than that at the high school but we were three short.”
The county faced a potentially critical budget shortfall after coronavirus-related closures grinded Kentucky’s economy to a halt. County leaders are looking to reduce spending to offset the shortfall. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
View the proposed Marshall County Sheriff’s Department budget appropriations below:
Correction: This article previously stated the 2020-2021 budget was approved at the June 26 fiscal court meeting. An amended 2019-2020 budget was approved, with a second reading on the 2020-2021 budget slated for June 30.