A key element of the discussion centered on the Polk County Sheriff’s Office budget.
“I know there are ways to cut costs,” Moats said. “A thing I feel would save money is to cut the duplication of services. I think we need to focus on the duties of the sheriff’s office.”
Incumbent Sheriff Kelly McLendon said he doesn’t pad the budget at all, but the Polk County Board of Commissioners always cut it by three to five percent. That means it is always likely that the office will end up over budget.
“I warned about that. They didn’t give me what I asked for,” McLendon said, adding that the budget is a good one.
“We’ve had the lowest budget in the past 16 years since I’ve been in office.”
McLendon said he runs the office where all duties get done and works well with the other agencies.
“We all worked together in the past. I think everything is working out fine,” he said.
“There’s always room for improvement,” he said.
One of the areas of difference was in the issue of officers taking cars home. Both said it was necessary, but McLendon was more direct in stating there was no other way around it.
“They are always on call. There are times they don’t have the time to leave their home, pick up a car and go to a call,” he said.
Moats said he would work on hiring more people who live within Polk County so the cars remain within the jurisdiction. He also said the office should invest in more fuel-efficient cars for those serving warrants.
“This is not criminal work. I think that would save a ton of money,” Moats said.
Moats also said a better job could be done in handling the drug problem in Polk County.
“I feel like we have a lot of different agencies with the drug units and don’t have them working together as a team,” Moats said, adding that he would like to see a combined task force.
McLendon said his office is handling it.
“The drug problem is being addressed in our office,” he said.