JEFFERSON-Ashe County Sheriff James Williams presented his wish list to county commissioners Tuesday morning during the board’s annual budget planning session.
The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met throughout the early portion of the week to discuss how much money each department should be allotted for the upcoming fiscal year.
Topping Williams’ list of must haves is the need for a full-time secretary in the sheriff’s office weapons permit office. Williams came before the board to ask for funding to move a part-time employee to full-time status.
He said the current staff, which consists of two full-time and one part-time employees, becomes overwhelmed on a regular basis and a single absence can throw the entire operation off track.
“We’re spread too thin,” said Williams. “I don’t ask for anything if I don’t need it.”
Williams requested from the board a budget item of an additional $23,000 to complement the $14,000 salary the part-time employee currently makes now. This would fulfill her requirement or full-time status.
The board came to a consensus to appropriate the money for the full-time position.
At the low end of his “Christmas list,” Williams said he is requesting a new deputy transport position.
The need for the additional officer has come from an increase in involuntary commitment transports.
Last week alone, the sheriff’s office had to assign an officer to at least 6 involuntary patients at Ashe Memorial Hospital.
The sheriff’s office must also respond to arrests on warrants in other counties that originated in Ashe.
For example, if an Ashe County fugitive was apprehended in Wilmington, sheriff’s deputies must make the long haul to the coast to pick up that inmate.