Martin County Sheriff John Kirk has told that the local tax court that he is suspending all activities due to a lack of funding.
(Martin County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)
A Kentucky sheriff has advice for residents after he announced the suspension of all enforcement activities: Lock your houses; load your weapons and a dog.
Martin County Sheriff John Kirk took the stage without invitation at a fiscal court meeting of February. 4, saying his office was yet due in January, a payment of $75,000, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. He also said new obligations to his office, will add $99,000 the annual expenditure.
The sheriff said he has laid off the bookkeeper and limited office hours 20 hours per week.
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Kirk wrote on his personal Facebook page that the sheriff’s office is broken. He said that his wife has helped out at the sheriff’s office a few nights after working her full-time job. He also advised some residents to lock their house and a dog.
“The people, lock the doors, load your weapons and go on a barking, biting dog,” he wrote. “If the sheriff’s office can’t protect you, then who?”
He also explained his decision to suspend police activities, writing, “the law requires the Sheriff to collect taxes, Bailiff court and serve papers. We always have police protection, but without the funding, we can do no more.”
A large part of the funding problem is a sharp decline in coal severance taxes hit the eastern part of Kentucky. The local government the money of an economic assistance fund for coal-producing counties has decreased by 80 percent since the fiscal year 2012 of $34 million to 6.7 million, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The fund provides a share of state-collected mineral severance taxes to the local governments.
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The sheriff has asked residents to go to court meetings in order to be aware of what is happening. County officials said they hoped that they could pay the $75,000 but do not immediately say when they can deliver the payment, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Without the sheriff’s office, the residents will have to rely on the Kentucky State Police, sometimes only one officer to patrol in several provinces.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.