Sheriff Mike Coyle

Madison County Sheriff Mike Coyle

The ongoing budget crunch has hit the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, and as a result, fewer officers will be patrolling the roadways in the future.

At its first meeting of the decade at the Berea City Annex, the Madison County Fiscal Court approved Sheriff Mike Coyle’s budget that is $300,000 less than last year. Coyle has been forced to lay off four officers and won’t be adding additional fleet to his office during the next fiscal year.

“A few months ago and a few weeks ago, this is definitely not the budget I would have thought (to have received) with all of our accomplishments and achievements we’ve been able to do. I wish there had been a little bit more priorities put on the sheriff’s office. I don’t like this budget. I’m losing four deputies, we’re not able to replace cars that we need to keep our people safe and keep the calls that we get throughout the county.

“I understand that we have some very difficult The ongoing budget crunch has hit the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, and as a result, fewer officers will be patrolling the roadways in the future.

At its first meeting of the decade at the Berea City Annex, the Madison County Fiscal Court approved Sheriff Mike Coyle’s budget that is $300,000 less than last year. Coyle has been forced to lay off four officers and won’t be adding additional fleet to his office during the next fiscal year.

“A few months ago and a few weeks ago, this is definitely not the budget I would have thought (to have received) with all of our accomplishments and achievements we’ve been able to do. I wish there had been a little bit more priorities put on the sheriff’s office. I don’t like this budget. I’m losing four deputies, we’re not able to replace cars that we need to keep our people safe and keep the calls that we get throughout the county.

“I understand that we have some very difficult 

times, but when we have to lay off people, and our people carry guns and they wear bullet-proof vests to go to work … our society is not a very good society right now. I know we don’t suit everybody, but this budget coming down from last year’s budget to meet this budget — $300,000 — has pretty much cut our legs out from under us.”

Coyle added the cuts likely will extend beyond personnel and cruisers.

“I don’t know what services we’re going to keep providing,” he said. “It’s just devastating. … here we are, another year, another budget and things I have addressed before, such as overtime, pay raises for our employees, vehicles — we’re still in the same dilemma with this budget crunch and financial situation that has hit our county.”

Coyle added the department’s obligation to the Administrative Office of the Courts, such as providing court security and the transport of prisoners from county to county and added inmate transport increased 20 percent, including a 40 percent rise in out of country transport from 2017-2019.

Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor said most of the services provided by Coyle’s department are “state mandated” such as serving papers that require 11 delivery attempts.

“There are a lot of rules and regulations that are set by the state that (Coyle) has to follow that ultimately cost money,” Taylor said. “From a business mind and a business standpoint, I couldn’t imagine in my years of business, getting up in the morning and having to go do a job, knowing that I am losing money. We are having to supplement some of (those costs which) is totally unfair. When we talk about unfunded mandates, a lot of times, that is what we’re talking about. These are mandates that are passed down from the state government to us and it doesn’t matter who the elected official is. … We don’t have a choice but to abide by those laws. A lot of times, that puts us in those tough situations.”

Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger urged citizens to get involved at the state level to help make a difference by voicing concerns to local, elected state officials.

“Instead of putting deputies on the road, we have to choose to work with our state agencies that he has zero control over, that forces him to haul prisoners back and forth across the state. They haven’t looked to modernize, they haven’t looked at their fee schedule and this is my opinion, not an expert opinion in any way, shape or form, but they don’t care. What came to a head (last year) with the tax increase, is going to be a positive, because people are now paying attention and they’re starting to understand a little more as the old saying (goes), it rolls down hill and we’re at the bottom. … we have to do what the law says.”

Coyle assured the court is department will continue to be committed to public safety.

“I can assure you that our people, we’re going to keep going on,” he said. “I’m very proud to hold this position … We’re going to go forward, we’re not going to go backwards and I’m just proud to be a Madison Countian.”

The court also approved Barger’s budget for the upcoming year. Barger said revenues will increase because of an adjustment in recording fees for deeds and mortgages. 

“The reason I’m able to bring a budget that is low in costs and high in revenue is because of the folks that I get to work with every day,” Barger said. “I’ve got a group of co-workers that I would put up against anyone — not just government organizations but private organizations as far as being driven to do the right thing for the public and doing the right thing for the court and our office. They’ve been able to return these fees back to the court at the end of our term. “

 In other business:

 • Entered into an inter-local agreement along with the City of Berea, City of Richmond as co-signers for a $500,000 loan needed to secure funding for the $1.3 million project for a T-Hanger at the Madison County Airport. The airport board already has secured $800,000 in state funds toward the project.

• Adopted Jubilee Lane into the Madison County Maintenance and Road Department. 

• Discontinued county maintenance of Ralph Park Lane.

• Heard from homeowners from Battlefield Estates, regarding flooding issues in the area. Taylor said the court is continuing to look into the matter.

• Madison County firefighters James Andre ($8.15 to $8.50 per hour), Matthew Cross ($8 to $8.50 per hour) were promoted in rank from Firefighter II to III.  Ethan Jones went from Firefighter III to Firefighter IV with a pay increase from $8.50 to $9.50 per hour.

• Appointed Bill Buchanan and Mary Eibert to the Madison County Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Renewed an agreement with Bullpen Inc. for CSEPP planning services.

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