Unpaid gas card bill causing concerns for sheriff, mayor in Mid-South

WATCH: Government budget problems in Hardeman County

HARDEMAN CO., Tenn. — The Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office is taking issue after piling bills coming from its gas card provider, Wex.

Right now, the county is behind on paying for fuel and deputies said the late fees will become money thrown out of the window. However, County Mayor Jimmy Sain said each of the late fees were waived.

A Wex invoice signed by the sheriff shows the department had a $12,774 statement from April. The statement also shows they owe $11,683 for a past due bill in March.

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In total, the county owes Wex $24,458.15 for fuel. Just shy of their $27,000 limit.

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“It’s very frustrating because we’re trying to do our job and protect the citizens,” said Captain Wilton Cleveland of the sheriff’s office.

Hardeman County deputies patrol about 800 total miles, and its critical bills are signed off on, then paid by the county mayor.

“What would eventually happen is we’ll have to do only emergency calls. We won’t be able to do any kind of patrolling,” Cleveland said.

The Hardeman County Mayor’s Office budgets around $100,000 a year for deputy fuel. Cleveland said that’s not enough if gas averages over $10,000 monthly.

“These bills go to the elected official,” Sain said. “These bills go to the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Department.”

Though invoices are signed by the sheriff, the mayor pays all county expenses.

Sain said it’s up to the sheriff’s office to provide signed bills for him to pay, or to ask for more money, if needed.

“It’s as simple as doing a budget amendment [and] bringing it to our office,” Sain said. “We take it to the County Commission and we put more funds in their budget. If they need more funding they’ve never been turned down.”

The Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office said overtime pay is also a point of contention with the mayor’s office and they’re hoping their next proposed budget keeps this issue at bay.