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Taylor Co. sheriff asks for jail upgrades, raises for staff

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ABILENE, Texas - Taylor County Sheriff's Office employees may see a raise next fiscal year.

Sheriff Ricky Bishop went in front of the Taylor County Commissioners' Court Wednesday to present the 2017 fiscal budget.

Salary increases were his top priority.

"I am trying to increase starting salary to $35,000 a year," Bishop said. "I think we're going to get really close to that."

The increase would affect current and new deputies and correctional officers within the jail. Bishop hopes the increase in salary will help attract new, qualified recruits and keep the current ones employed.

"We are just not getting the quality of applicants right now," Bishop said.

The Taylor County Jail is overpopulated, there are more women inmates than there are beds, and Bishop has asked for more resources.

"We are going to be asking for additional personnel just to be able to cover our needs in our jail," Bishop said.

Also on the department's agenda were equipment upgrades and jail maintenance.

"Just equipment-wise, [the budget] is about $58,000 more than last year, about a three to five percent increase over last year, which is normal," Bishop said.

With the jail and sheriff's department combined, Bishop estimates the entire budget would be somewhere around $10 million.

The commissioners will continue hearing budget talks throughout the week, the final budget must be approved by September.

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