Earlington Mayor Phillip Hunt is hoping that a police officer can be found to fill a position that has been tentatively budgeted for the upcoming fiscal year — pending a vote from city council.
An officer was budgeted in the previous fiscal year, but city officials were not able to come together to decide who to hire for the position.
“Last year, we had it added to the budget for the police department,” he said. “It had been years ago because we didn’t have one. We weren’t able to come together and agree on a police officer, and we still don’t have one. Hopefully we will put it back in the budget, and hopefully we can find someone to fill that spot.”
Hunt said he is hoping to hire one part-time officer, however, he said most offficers are looking for a full-time position. But due to budget constraints and the amount of work that the officer would be doing, a part-time position is what is being offered.
“Most want a full-time job, and I understand that,” he said. “We were looking at people involved in other things, and this could supplement their income, and we were looking at those that are retired. Nobody applied for the job last time, except for one person.”
Hunt said that when incidents occur in the city, the Hopkins County Sheriff’s deputies or Kentucky State Police troopers respond to the calls.
“They do an excellent job, but they are overworked as it is, and we can’t depend on them completely — and we shouldn’t have to,” he said. “We are the third highest town in Hopkins County with the number of responses by them for our incidents here. If we had just a part time police officer, that would cut down on their workload tremendously. We have simple issues in town that should only be handled by a police officer. Just for the police presence here — if people see police cars in town — I think it would make a tremendous difference.”
Hunt and other officials continue to work on the upcoming fiscal year budget.
“We have got the annual budget almost nailed out, we have a few questions we are discussing but other than that it is basically done,” he said. “We were moving forward on that for sure.”
Hunt said he could not remember the specific amount budgeted for the police officer spot at the time of the interview.
“It is a reasonable amount considering the amount of work they would have to do,” he said “It is fair, but I can’t remember the exact amount of it.”
As of Friday, Hunt said the budget is balanced.
“Right now, we have a balanced budget as long as we don’t make very many more changes,” he said. “Our fire department hasn’t submitted their end of it yet, but they are always in good shape.”
Hunt said he hopes that the council will vote on the budget at their next meeting, which is set for Tuesday, May 11 at 5 p.m. at the Earlington Fire Station.