Despite future financial concerns, Dawson County commissioners have approved spending more than $273,000 on a new records management system for the sheriff’s office.
Known as InterAct, the system will link divisions within the agency and allow communication with the fire department and the district attorney’s office.
Sheriff Billy Carlisle said the new system, which has been needed for more than a year, will improve efficiency and possibly save manpower.
“Forsyth County (Sheriff’s Office) said they cut their man hours down in half by using this system,” Carlisle said.
The sheriff has said that a similar impact in Dawson County would mean personnel could be be reassigned to operations at the new courthouse when it opens next year.
County Manager Kevin Tanner said he would look in the 2011 budget for areas that could cover the expense.
“Each year a certain amount of contingency is placed into the annual budget to cover unexpected or unplanned expenditures,” he said.
Tanner has previously cautioned against using reserves from the county’s fund balance to pay for the new system.
Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix motioned to approve the purchase of the sheriff’s records management system Thursday.
Moments after the vote, Commissioner Gary Pichon said the county is near “the bottom of the barrel” in regards to revenue.
“As I look into the crystal ball at the future, I’m very concerned with finances of the county,” he said, citing the drop in property tax revenue over the last few years.
Pichon said the county must do everything it can to increase sales tax dollars and “take care of the Ga. 400 corridor” to compensate for financial losses.
“After that is cost cutting,” Pichon said. “I would say to the staff and the management of the county, and to all the citizens of the county, we cannot create services with no money.
“We think our funds are going to continue to shrink and therefore all the things that we’re looking for in the future are going to get tougher and tougher.”
Commissioner James Swafford echoed Pichon’s words, saying he hoped the county’s elected officials would make cuts where necessary as budgetary issues arise.
“When that time comes, and we come and say we just don’t have the money, I hope you’ll do ... whatever you have to do,” Swafford said.