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Coroner asks for funding to cover transport costs

Video from WALB
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 8:56 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - More people in Dougherty County are dying from drug overdoses than from any other cause, according to Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler. The coroner asked the Dougherty County Commission for more money to help cover the cost of transport.

Victims of a death investigation are transported to GBI crime labs in either Macon or Atlanta. From July to March of this year, there have been 54 of them, most being drug overdoses.

″I already knew that we were probably going to run out of money,” said Fowler.

Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County Commission.
Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County Commission.(WALB)

During last year’s fiscal year, the coroner’s office was budgeted nearly $50,000 for transport. This year they cut that to $19,000.

Now the coroners’ office is asking for a little more than $20,000 to cover unpaid invoices and future transports during the last three months of the fiscal year.

Dougherty County Administrator Michael McCoy recommended the commission adjust his budget.

County Administrator Michael McCoy says staff reccommends approving the extra 2o thousand...
County Administrator Michael McCoy says staff reccommends approving the extra 2o thousand dollars.(WALB)

“He was underfunded for this line item. His budget needs to be adjusted upward,” said McCoy.

Coroner Fowler said these costs in transport have nothing to do with COVID-19, but another issue within the county.

“The problem is we’re having a lot of drug overdoses, usually fentanyl,” said Fowler.

Since staff recommends approval, it’s likely the item will be approved. However, the commission will ultimately decide next week when they vote.

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