County Commissioner Grover Robinson last week said on “Pensacola Speaks” that he believes the county can give Sheriff David Morgan more money for raises but not all the money the sheriff has requested.
“We don’t have all that money,” said Robinson. “But at the end of the day, I think there’s a solution. It may not be everything, and the sheriff is certainly welcome to go to Tallahassee and ask for it. If Governor Scott wants to tell the people of Escambia County that they’ve got to pay more money than … then he’s certainly welcome to do that.”
He added, “My job is to try to measure and be the best steward we can with the dollars we have.”
The commissioner defended his fiscal stewardship. He pointed out the FY 2007 budget, which was approved before he was first elected, had $151 million in debt and totaled $452 million. The proposed budget for FY 2018 is only $3 million more, and the debt is $161 million, which includes $90 million borrowed for the new jail.
Recent news may have helped Robinson come up with more money for the Sheriff’s Office. The commissioners learned last week that the county will have a $1.5 million savings from its workmen’s comp carrier.
“Those guys were guys I’d gotten to know through Florida Association of Counties, and I’d asked them to come in and talk to our people and see if we could fit that process and see what we could do, and I’m glad we were able to get the savings,” said Robinson.
He disagreed with Commissioner Doug Underhill’s proposal to fund Sheriff Morgan’s request by taking the dollars away from FloridaWest, United Way of Escambia County and other outside agencies because those funds “really go to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Commissioner Robinson said he was working with Assistant County Administrator Amy Lovoy on a proposal to deal with Sheriff Morgan’s request. He plans to present it at the second budget hearing on Sept. 26.