KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knox County Commission approved the annual budget at a special session Monday night.
The approval comes nearly a month after Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced his proposed budget, and negotiations with Sheriff Tom Spangler regarding pay raises for deputies began.
“Very appreciative obviously that the budget has been approved, we look forward to that, we look forward to getting back to some sort of normalcy for the next little bit before July,” Spangler said.
With the approval of the budget, KCSO patrol officers ranking captain or below will receive a 12% raise, while corrections officers will receive a 27% raise. Sheriff Spangler and Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced this amendment to the budget on Friday, June 2.
Jacobs’s original budget proposal included an 8% raise for deputies. Spangler initially asked for a 30% raise for deputies in March. Spangler said the pay increases are past due.
“We’ve consistently stayed behind those other agencies, whether it be KPD, whether it be other surrounding counties around us, I’ve used the phrase, ‘we just kept kicking the can down the road,’ and this right here, we just kicked it a foot or two now, which has made a huge difference with us,” Spangler said.
Spangler said in March that his department had 127 open positions, and that these pay raises will help them fight the staffing shortage.
“We’ve got to retain the experience that we have because I’ve got 140 people right now who are eligible to retire by the end of this year, and I don’t want to see that happen,” Spangler said.
There was no discussion among commissioners directly before Monday’s vote. Spangler believes the board was confident following the public hearings.
“I think that they also saw there’s no property tax increase, and obviously that’s a big concern for all the commissioners,” Spangler said. “The work that the mayor and I did, I shouldn’t say just the mayor and I, but Chris Caldwell and Allison Rogers, the four of us sitting down, and going back and forth and dickering so to speak, and that good conversation that was going on saying, ‘yes I’ll do this,’ or ‘no I won’t do that,’ it helped.”
The pay raises and the rest of the budget will go into effect July 1.