The Greene County Commission, at an emergency meeting held Thursday, September 29, 2016, approved its fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, reducing the Sheriff Department’s allocations by $138,727.73. According to the commission, this amount represents the additional resources Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison agreed to provide to the commission from increased fees generated from Bingo machines. This agreement between the Greene County Commission and Sheriff Benison resulted from a directive of Circuit Court Judge James Moore at the December 15, 2015 hearing and provides that the sheriff will raise the fees on Bingo Machines at each facility in the county from $80 to $85 per month, beginning February 2016. To date, the additional $5 per machine has not been provided to the commission.
The court agreement stated that the $85 per machine, collected by the sheriff for the commission, would be earmarked and allocated with 60% of the funds to be used for infrastructure projects and 40% for use by the commission to meet needs of the county general fund. The commission explained that part of the 40% would be allocated toward the sheriff’s budget, however, without the increase of $5 per machine, the county does not have sufficient income to meet the sheriff’s budget as requested.
The commission reported that various communications have been sent to Sheriff Benison, requesting the agreed upon funds for the county and explaining the process that authorized the sheriff to impose and collect the additional $5 fee per Bingo machine. The commission reported there has been no response from Sheriff Benison in this regard.