Coroner responds to County Commission about budget @ LCC 2013-11-14

Like the Sheriff, the Coroner reports that something’s rotten in the Lowndes County Commission and staff’s version of his budget.

Dean Poling write for the VDT today, Coroner responds to county budget issues,

Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson explained Friday that comments calling him one of the county budget’s “worst offenders” did not explain why his office’s expenses change from year to year.

“I have no control over the number of people that dies each year,” Watson told The Times, “and I have to fund the transportation for autopsies. Any time there is an autopsy, it costs my office about $750.”

These costs include the expense of having a body transported to a State Crime Lab for an autopsy and other fees.

Watson estimates his office answers an average of 250 deaths per year in Lowndes County. These deaths range from natural causes, accidents, homicides, unexplained circumstances, etc. Not all deaths are autopsied.

The coroner said the number of deaths requiring an autopsy to determine the cause of death changes from year to year.

The VDT got a clarification from County Manager Joe Pritchard:

For the purpose of budgeting the coroner’s office, Pritchard said Friday, the county must try predicting the number of bodies that must be transported each year for autopsies. They look at the past transport numbers to help make this determination, but an increase in requested autopsies can cause the coroner’s office to go over budget.

Maybe Pritchard should have clarified that in the county’s secretive retreat or in Friday’s VDT article.