Murray County Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan approved a $15.398 million budget for 2013 Monday morning, an increase of $142,763 from 2012 spending.
Most of the spending increase will be used to try to open the new jail, Hogan said.
“It needs to be opened, but in the past we just could not make the numbers work,” Hogan said.
But Hogan said that he and Commissioner-elect Brittany Pittman, who sat in on meetings with department heads, met with Sheriff-elect Gary Langford, who says he might be able to open the jail with fewer staff than previously forecast.
“(Pittman) wants to do it, and I agree,” Langford said.
Langford said he was scheduled to meet with Pittman Monday evening to discuss the details of opening the jail.
“It isn’t 100 percent. We want to get it open within the next month or two months. But the final decision hasn’t been made yet on how many positions we are going to need,” he said. “We definitely want to open it. It has set there empty for too many years.”
The new jail section, which cost $11 million, was built to relive overcrowding and to keep the county from paying to house inmates in jails outside Murray County. The new jail was formally dedicated in 2009 but does not house any inmates.
Hogan said the 2013 budget is a balanced one and no departments will see any large increases or cuts from 2012.
“We have cut (the budget) about down to the bone,” Hogan said.