The Upson County Board of Commissioners held a called meeting on Thursday, June 19 to discuss the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s 2009 Fiscal Year Budget.
Commission Chairman Glenn Collins asked District Attorney Scott Ballard and Public Defender Joseph Saia to be present at the meeting to explain their budget proposals.
Ballard informed the board that the budget has decreased by 4.6 percent from last year’s budget, but due to the cost of living the budget requires a 2 percent increase.
Commissioner Steve Hudson told Ballard, “I don’t agree with how the budget is allocated. The District Attorney is not elected by case load, he is elected by vote, and I think the budget should be determined by the county population.”
Ballard is a part of the Griffin Judicial Circuit that serves Fayette, Spalding, Pike and Upson Counties. According to Ballard, Upson county has the highest case load, while Fayette is the most populated county.
Ballard replied to Hudson saying, “I understand your ideas, but I don’t know how to accommodate your wishes. We handle more cases here, and we need money for how much we work.”
Hudson informed Ballard and the Board that if the budget were set up determined by population it would save the county 2.9 percent, nearly $162,000.
The population versus case load is a long standing request by Hudson, who stands firm on his opinion. Hudson and Ballard respectfully agree to disagree, and the Board of Commissioners approved the budget of $214,182 by a 3 to 2 vote.
Public Defender Joseph Saia began his discussion with the board by saying, “We are moving court cases as fast as we can, and we are cleaning out the jail.
“This years budget has increased by less than five percent. That increase is due to the increase in the cost of living. We have been keeping all of our costs at minimum trying to save money.”
The increase in the Public Defender’s budget is also due to a three percent increase in salary.
The Public Defender’s budget of $360,402 was approved by unanimous vote.
Final decisions regarding the District Attorney and Public Defender fiscal year 2009 budget will be made at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, June 24 at 7 p.m.
The meeting is open and the public is invited to attend.