Chatham County Commission approves 2019-2020 budget

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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Chatham County leaders have passed a $240 million budget for the next fiscal year.

That budget includes plans for completing the transfer of the E-911 System to the county. But, two vital county offices may receive more funding than expected.

There are 40 attorneys working in the district attorney’s office and 20 in the public defender’s office. Their caseload, they informed commissioners, is overwhelming.

Before Friday’s budget vote, commissioners responded to their requests last week for additional manpower.

“After listening at the workshop last Thursday it was apparent that we need maybe at least one more district attorney and certainly the concerns in the public defender’s office,” said District One Commissioner Helen Stone.

District 7 Commissioner Dean Kicklighter asked a question:

“I have a question for our county attorney. If a person is arrested, do they have the right to an attorney? Yeah. Ok, my next question, if a person came before a judge, and there was no attorney available, would the judge allow a trial to go on? No.”

The public defender’s office will receive funding for an additional attorney in this next budget.

The commission also plans to meet with the DA over the next few weeks to further discuss the needs of her office.

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