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Durham Budget Supports More Deputies; Relief Still Distant for 911 Operators

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DURHAM — Durham County has its own law enforcement problem. It needs more deputies. That's one of the issues that was addressed when the new county budget was released Wednesday night.

It turns out, the Durham Sheriff's Department is a winner for funding. It will be getting additional deputies. It was just last week that WRAL reported on the need for at least a dozen new EMS workers. The budget may not come to the rescue of some people in Durham County.

First the good news. The county manager proposes eight new deputies for the Durham County Sheriff's Department, something that should help the resources of law enforcement stretched thin in a growing county. Then the list starts of public service departments that will simply have to wait.

"One area where we have had concern is with our telecommunications, because we are short-staffed there," said David Thompson, Durham County Manager. "However, they are under the city's pay plan."

911 dispatchers are working long shifts with few days off because of short staffing. Durham City and County share the cost of 911. Relief will have to wait until an inner-local agreement is worked out.

EMS workers will also have to standby at the squad building. They've asked for a dozen additional medical technicians. Any additions there will have to wait for the control of Durham Regional to switch over to Duke Medical Center in July.

Then, there's the best news. The budget proposal cuts the tax rate by 1%. Resident Jamal Thompson is pleased. He understood that local taxes in Durham were higher than in surrounding areas.

The Durham Public School System didn't get all it was asking for either. But school spending is up 5%. County commissioners will have to adopt the budget by June 30th.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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