County commissioners gave the go-ahead to Sheriff Kip Thomas Sept. 3 to purchase two cars with money allocated in his 2012 budget.
The board of commissioners (BOC) agreed last year to allocate $130,000 for four cars for the sheriff’s department for 2012. Thomas has purchased three Tahoes this year, including one for the K-9 unit. He told commissioners Monday that there is enough money left in the budget to buy two more vehicles, which will include one to replace a vehicle recently wrecked by an investigator who hydroplaned and ran off the road responding to a shooting call, Thomas said.
Commissioners agreed 5-0 to give the sheriff the go-ahead to make the vehicle purchases.
During the vehicle discussion, commissioner Stanley Thomas questioned the sheriff’s use of seized funds — money the department makes off items, such as vehicles and guns, confiscated in criminal cases. He asked why the department only recorded $24,000 in the seized funds budget, as opposed to $81,000 the previous year.
“Why such a drop?” asked commissioner Thomas.
Sheriff Thomas said that seized items can be tied up in court and that the funds can fluctuate from year to year. Commissioner Thomas noted that the seized fund budget averages around $50,000.