Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle says residents of subsidized housing complexes are keeping his deputies busy these days.
"There's a dozen people living in an apartment, and we're going there everyday,'' he said, adding "It's tying up a lot of revenue.''
At a work session meeting Thursday with Columbia County Commission members and other county constitutional officers, he made a plea to commissioners concerning the topic.
"When we have government-funded rent, we are inviting the wrong clientele to our county,'' the sheriff said. "... We really need to look at that strongly because it's going to drain us if we don't do our homework.''
Commission Chairman Ron Cross told Whittle that in certain cases the county can't prevent such subsidized housing, but that the issue would be considered.
Whittle also told the commissioners he will be submitting an increased budget for the next year, the result of a work assessment study, and that more space for medium security housing at the county's detention center will be needed.
"We simply don't have enough deputies on the street,'' he said about the work assessment study.
Hearing such issues, Cross said, was the purpose of the Thursday informal meeting.
"It's just an opportunity to shoot the breeze or if you have any concerns,'' Cross said, explaining the reason for the meeting to the constitutional officers on hand, including Magistrate Court Judge Wade Padgett, Tax Commissioner Kay Allen, Probate Court Judge Pat Hardaway and Clerk of Court Cindy Mason.
Allen and Whittle also told commissioners more parking is needed at the Evans Government Complex.
Cross said such issues would be looked into and that he wants the commission to be more forward-thinking on preparing for growth before it occurs. He said he feels county commissioners currently have to spend too much of their time playing a catch up game, addressing which road or drainage problems can be addressed using limited funds.
One possible remedy to the problem, he said, could be to seek bond money to pay for road and drainage issues that have been on a backlog waiting for funds.
Cross has asked county staff members to look into the possibility of a $100 million bond, which if pursued by the county would have to go before voters for approval.
The bond money, he said, would free commissioners up to focus more on the future.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.