The Delaware County commissioners at their June 22 meeting approved additional funding for the county sheriff's office that will allow it to meet contractual obligations with employees for the remainder of this year.

The Delaware County commissioners at their June 22 meeting approved additional funding for the county sheriff's office that will allow it to meet contractual obligations with employees for the remainder of this year.

The 2009 budget, passed by the previous commissioners, failed to allocate any money for raises, including for those working under negotiated contracts. Department heads were expected to find the money.

The $702,000 approved by the commissioners last week will allow the sheriff's office to meet those obligations for now, but more money might be needed as the end of the year approaches, said Sheriff Walter L. Davis III.

Davis recently learned that a deputy assigned to assist the county's division of job and family services will no longer be funded out of that department's budget.

Also, once the addition of dormitories is complete on the second floor of the county jail, Davis said he would likely need more personnel to staff the area. The work is being done so Davis can house federal prisoners and detainees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Both groups will pay the county to house the prisoners, and the money will go to repay the bonds issued for the work.

The resolution passed by the commissioners allows Davis to keep the first $15,000 in revenue from those agencies to help balance his budget. Davis indicated he may need more but said he and the commissioners "are too close (to approving the additional funding) that I am not going to split hairs now."

Commission president Tommy Thompson said the funding shortage was something "we inherited" from the previous commission. He said he knows demand for services has increased from all areas of county government.

"As commissioners, we need to look at how we can improve the quality of life for our citizens and this is just a step in that process," he said.

"As we plan for the future, we need to look at where we are at now and where we'll be in five years and 10 years. We know we will need to add positions for you (Davis) and family services."

Davis told Thompson he has someone working on that information as part of his budgeting process for next year. The sheriff's office is trying to be as frugal as possible while still maintaining coverage to all parts of the county, Davis told the commissioners.

The commissioners will begin the 2010 budget process when they meet at 9 a.m. July 20.