Sheriff looking at new jail, proposes new deputy position

Greene County sheriff Jack Williams has agreed to allow ISG Engineering to do planning and engineering for a new facility that would house the law enforcement center, jail, magistrate court and the Jefferson fire department.

Williams told the supervisors Jan. 26 that ISG has offered to do the plans at no charge, a cost he estimated at $70,000 to $80,000. “The only thing is that we don’t get the plans without involving them when we go to build it,” he said.

Williams said planning is a two-year process he’d like to start. He also said ISG would like to talk with the supervisors “about being a little more involved with bidding, since Bolton & Menk is their biggest competitor.”

Williams said he checked with other counties that have used ISG’s services and they were pleased with the work. “They’ll (ISG) do planning for free as long as you use their surveyors and engineers to do the work,” he said.

The supervisors by consensus told Williams to pursue having ISG Engineering start plans.

Also, while most elected officials in Greene County are proposing 3 percent increases in their budget to cover an increase in wages, Williams’ proposed budget for fiscal year 18 calls for a 24 percent increase. Most of that going to cover the cost of adding a sixth deputy, bringing the number of uniformed officers to eight (six deputies, the chief deputy and the sheriff).

Williams submitted his proposed budget to the county supervisors Thursday.

The budget includes salary and benefits for an additional deputy, training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy for the new position and a deputy to fill a vacancy, a new vehicle for the added deputy, two scheduled vehicle replacements, and equipping the three new vehicles.

Williams pegged the starting wage of a new deputy at $43,000, and he calculated a 5 percent increase in wages. The county is now in negotiations for a new contract with AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the union that represents employees in the sheriff’s office.

Total estimated expenditures for all the sheriff’s funds reflects an increase of nearly $295,000, or 24 percent. The current year budget includes $1,269,000 for the sheriff’s office and Law Enforcement Center.

Williams reminded the supervisors that the sheriff’s office did not add deputies when it began providing law enforcement services in the county’s smaller towns. “I’m covering five towns with six deputies, and crime is running rampant, and we don’t have the time to deal with it,” Williams said.

“We’ve never been given more help to pick up that added coverage, and it’s finally started to bite us in the backside. In all honesty, I need two positions to adequately cover what we do,” he said.

“Burglaries are going crazy, and we can’t investigate them because all we’re doing is call, call, call,” Williams added. “We’ve got to do something to curb crime because we’re not getting any help from upstairs,” he said, referring to the county attorney.

Adding another deputy position would allow there to be two deputies working on every shift.

 

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