Previously updated: Oct. 31, 2017, 5:26 p.m.
Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson has set up a public meeting after his attorney sent the board of commissioners a draft of a petition to sue for the full amount of funds he requested in July for his 2018 budget.
Johnson’s attorney Joey Homans claims in the petition, which he sent to the county attorney Oct. 19, that the Sheriff’s initial budget request of $8,961,406 “makes reasonable and adequate provision for the personnel and equipment necessary to enable the Sheriff to perform duties of enforcing the law and preserving the peace in Dawson County.”
The $8,273,080 budget that the commission approved for the sheriff on Sept. 21, a 9.23 percent difference, is not sufficient for Johnson to perform those same duties, Homans says.
According to the petition, the commission is required to provide Johnson with the money he asked for as Johnson is an elected constitutional officer that needs sufficient funds to discharge his legal duties.
Homans also asks in the petition that the commission agree to pay his legal fees.
The commission has upheld the stance that the sheriff has been allocated a fair amount, as the sheriff’s 2018 budget is an overall increase from the 2017 budget and that there is “only so much money” at the county’s disposal.
Johnson announced on Monday that the Sheriff’s Office will host a public meeting to address the disputed budget on Nov. 6.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Professional Development Center next to the Board of Education.
“In addition to the main topic of discussion, residents will have the opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns they may have regarding law enforcement operations in our county,” Johnson said in an email.