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It was business as usual at the Marion County Fiscal Court meeting Thursday, April 15, until a request for an additional sheriff's deputy was discussed.
At the end of the meeting, Magistrate John Arthur Elder III asked his fellow magistrates if they planned on discussing Marion County Sheriff Carroll Kirkland's request for an additional deputy. Elder made a motion to approve the request, however Magistrate Steve Masterson voiced some concerns. According to Masterson, when Kirkland submitted his budget a few months ago, an additional deputy position wasn't included.
"We all realize it's an election year," Masterson said. "If you wanted this in the budget, you should have included this in the budget."
Masterson said that the court should wait for the next budget cycle or wait until the election is over to consider the request.
Elder said the election shouldn't be a part of the discussion.
"Let's just leave that talk out of this," Elder said.
According to Kirkland, he didn't know how much money he would have left over at the end of the fiscal year to return to fiscal court.
"I didn't know I'd have $70,000 to turn back to you all," Kirkland said.
Because of his $70,000 carryover, he thought it might be a good chance to add another deputy position, Kirkland said.
According to Elder, the request is justified.
"The reality is, we do need another deputy," Elder said.
However, Masterson said, with the upcoming election, it was very bad timing on Kirkland's part.
Kirkland quickly responded to Masterson, raising his voice and speaking directly to Masterson.
"Let's just let it be," Kirkland said, loudly. "But the next time you come to my office, Steve, you come talk to me. Don't go talk to my secretary first."
Masterson said he didn't go talk to Kirkland's secretary. He and Kirkland continued to exchange heated words.
"And when we keep getting all these calls out in the county, I'm going to tell them to call you," Kirkland said to Masterson.
Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly used his gavel to regain control over the meeting.
As for Elder's motion to approve Kirkland's request, it died without a second.
Raywick Fire Department expansion
Raywick Fire Chief Chuck Helm made a request for financial assistance with the upcoming $60,000 expansion at the Raywick Fire House.
According to Helm, the plans are to add an additional 3,600 square feet to the building. Currently, the Raywick Fire Department doesn't have a meeting room or training room. The addition could be used for those purposes, or as an area that the community could use at no charge, Helm said. It could also be used as a storm shelter, Helm said.
Marion County Fiscal Court already gives each county fire department $22,000 a year. Helm was asking for that money in advance, and some additional financial assistance from the county.
"What we were looking for was $30,000 from fiscal court and an advance of $30,000," Helm said.
Magistrate Masterson suggested that the county meet with all of the county fire departments to develop a growth plan because Loretto has plans to do the same thing that Raywick is doing with its expansion, he said.
Magistrate Elder said he thought the court needed more time to consider Helm's proposal. He asked Helm to come back to fiscal court in two weeks.
According to Helm, the project is going to happen, regardless of what funds Raywick gets from fiscal court.
"We are going to do the project one way or another," Helm said.