Martin County Commissioners and Sheriff Continue to Battle Over Budget

Martin County Commissioners and Sheriff Continue to Battle Over Budget

 by Kim Powell

NewsWest 9

MARTIN COUNTY - The Martin County Commissioner's Court held a special meeting for a budget workshop Thursday evening. Sheriff Woodward passed around a packet that he put together of why the department needs the budget to hire another Deputy Sheriff.

"I've got most of the population growth and some of the call numbers, traffic accidents," Sheriff Woodward explained.

The two sides have been butting heads lately after Sheriff Woodward purchased two patrol vehicles from a dealership in South Texas. Commissioners said he did not follow the proper bidding process.

"There's procedures that need to be followed, and we expected that. It's disappointing that an elected official circumvented it and just went about it by themselves," County Commissioner Bobby Holland said in a meeting last month.

So when the sheriff passed around his request, they sat in silence. No discussion took place, and no questions were asked.

According to Sheriff Woodward, the population of Martin County has been growing, much like the rest of the basin, so there has been an increase in calls for service.

The county currently has four deputies, and according to Woodward, the fifth deputy could be used during night time hours and on the weekends, and the extra patrol coverage wouldn't hurt.

The sheriff's department would need at least $45,000 to make this position possible.

County Commissioner Bryan Cox issued a statement Thursday saying, "It was just about the bidding process. He didn't follow it, so it's not in his budget, it's in ours."

Commissioners also say that the money will be in the county's budget, and if the sheriff department needs it, they will have to go through the proper bidding process to get it.

So a motion was ultimately made to leave the budget as it is.

The official vote will happen in next week's County Commissioner's Court. Stick with NewsWest 9 as the story unfolds.