Police, EMS seek 60 new positions

By Kevin Liles

For more on the county budget see the Wednesday edition of the News Daily.

More than 60 new jobs may be added to the Clayton County Police Department and Emergency Medical Services if Clayton County commissioners approve the proposed budget for fiscal year 2005.

Clayton County Police Chief Darrell Partain said he has asked for a "considerable amount of officers" to bolster his 305-employee staff, but isn't exactly sure how many he will get.

"It's like any bartering process," said Partain, who's been chief for two years. "You ask for what you need, but you don't always get it."

The additions are part of the county's proposed budget for fiscal year 2005, which takes effect July 1. There will be a public hearing on the budget during the Clayton County Board of Commissioners' regular business meeting, which begins today at 9 a.m. at 112 Smith Street.

Following the business meeting, commissioners will continue to discuss the budget during a called work session. The five-member board is set to adopt the budget at a special called business meeting at 9 a.m. June 22.

According to the proposed budget, 62 positions will be added within the police department and emergency medical services, and four positions will be deleted. The additional cost is $2.4 million.

Partain said there was a 7-percent crime increase in Clayton County between 2002 and 2003, resulting in an increase in call volume.

"We also had population increase, but that didn't directly affect the increase in calls," Partain said.

Though the county's general fund increased by 1.8 percent in the proposal n from $128.6 million to $131 n the total operating budget decreased 4.5 percent.

"There will be no impact on citizens in Clayton County," said Commission Chairman Crandle Bray. "Services will stay the same or go up in some areas."

The decrease in the overall budget is due to a cut in capital projects, such as ones that will be covered by the special purpose local option sales, or SPLOST.

Bray said that nine police officers and another ambulance may be added, and more EMS staff may be hired to man the ambulance.

Both the tourism authority fund and park and recreation funds may see increases over last year of 33.1 percent and 23.8 percent, respectively.

Other changes may include additions to county employees' pay for mileage and meals.

County employees should be paid .32 cents per mile instead of .28 cents, according to the proposal, and the per day rate should be increased from $25 to $32. The proposed per day rate is $6 for breakfast, $8 for lunch and $18 for dinner.

In other business, the commission also plans to consider a resolution that will enter Clayton and DeKalb counties into a mutual aid agreement, which will allow the two to help one another with fire suppression, protection, prevention and rescue, as well as emergency medical assistance.

Several appointments are for several boards are on the agenda, and commissioners will consider accepting the following excess state property: an armored personnel carrier, a tractor and semi trailer.