Departments had their say Tuesday regarding needs to be included in the upcoming Wilson County budget.
The Wilson County Budget Committee heard from department head during two meetings to ask for a needs assessment. The first round of requests was Thursday.
Human Resources Director Christina Woodward put in a request for an additional $20,000 to conduct background checks. Currently, prospective county employees are given the basic check “validating their degrees and where they worked,” said Woodward.
“Right now, we do some background checks out of our budget. The WEMA employees and Sheriff’s Department, they require additional background checks that we don’t generally do for county employees,” she said.
This drew questions from several committee members.
“We don’t perform background checks on everybody we hire?” asked Chairman Mike Justice. “I can’t believe we’re not doing this already.”
Committee member Sara Patton said, “I don’t know why we don’t do background checks on everybody we hire.”
Sheriff Robert Bryan put in a request for additional personnel Thursday.
“With the increase of narcotics traffic, prescription pills and meth, you name it, those types of investigations have gone up over the years. I’m asking for an additional narcotics detective.”
He said his department has need for three additional patrol officers, as well as two school resource officers.
“I am requesting an additional SRO for the new Watertown High School, as well as an SRO for the new Watertown Middle School.”
Previously, a single SRO covered Watertown Elementary School, which was a kindergarten through eighth-grade school.
On Tuesday, Wilson Emergency Management Agency Director Joey Cooper asked for additional funds for in-service training for employees. The rate of compensation requested would be $9.50 per hour. The department requires 40 hours of in-service training per year.
“What you have here is conferences, different things like that. This is payroll required,” Cooper said.
Justice said he had no problem with the training, but disagreed on the amount.
“I don’t disagree with this, but at $9.50 per hour, I’m just going to tell you. If I’ve worked 40 hours and you call me in for training, you’re going to pay me overtime. I don’t disagree with what you’re doing; I disagree with the amount of money.”
Other departments brought forth requests, including equipment needs, maintenance funds and line-item transfers to cover personnel changes.
The Tuesday session concluded with a request from Larry Tomlinson at the Ward Agricultural Center for a “ballpark figure” of $100,000 for paving of parking lots near the East/West Building on the grounds.
“Our parking lot in front of the East/West Building is in dire need of resurfacing,” he said.