Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown is being proactive in his budget preparation this year, giving an early heads up to county commissioners that it's hard to balance outgo with income when you have to deal with so many mandated expenses and labor-intensive work that goes with running a jail and keeping the county safe.
He has asked commissioners to take a tour of his Alcovy Road domain, to come and visit and learn more about what he faces and what it takes to run daily operations of the department.
That's a smart start to the budget-building process.
The commission holds the keys to the coffers for the sheriff's office, and they have questioned budget overruns the sheriff's office has incurred in the past two years that have occurred on Brown's watch.
You can learn more about the situation in Government Reporter Gabe Khouli's account in our Sunday print edition and online at covnews.com.
Commissioners have legitimate concerns in reigning in the county budget in tough economic times, and Brown has legitimate concerns over how to meet mandated staffing and service levels and keep patrols on the road.
We're glad that Brown is reaching out seeking to build a consensus. It's astute politics and a way to ensure that county residents are kept safe and served well.