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Posted: May 19, 2011 7:26 p.m.

Sheriff seeks grant to add deputies

The Newton County Sheriff's Office is unlikely to get local money for much-needed additional deputies next year, but its force will be buoyed if it's selected for a federal 2011 COPS Hiring Grant.

Sheriff Ezell Brown received board permission Tuesday to apply for seven officer positions from the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The grant provides money for entry level-salary positions for three years, with the local being required to then to fund those positions for at least one subsequent year.

The grant award winners will be announced Sept. 30. If the county is still facing budget crunches in 2013, Brown said he would begin not to fill positions as deputies retired or left the force. This would ensure that the county could then pay those seven officers for the year required.

In other county news, the board approved paying $170,254 to restructure and resurface Avenue of Champions, the road that leads to the General Mills plant.
The entire cost of the project will be $340,509, with the other half paid by Covington.

The board also approved a resolution that said it will base its redistricting process on the 2010 census count and other appropriate factors. It was a formality to allow the redistricting process to begin. Commissioner Tim Fleming requested that the resolution specify that County Attorney Tommy Craig take the lead in the process, because he has gone through the past three redistricting efforts.

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