Howard County Coroner Jay Price is set to repeat his call for additional help in his office, citing an increasing backlog of cases.
Price, who has served for the past three years, is seeking more than $30,000 in additional money for his office this year, mainly to cover the cost of autopsies and lab testing.
“The cases keep increasing each year,” Price said. “It’s something we can’t predict.”
Price said he has 105 cases currently awaiting final disposition.
He said the cause of death has already been determined for most of those cases, but said he needs to write reports for each of them.
Two years ago, Price became the first full-time Howard County coroner at his own request.
Price presented the Howard County Council with a revised 2011 budget, which increased his salary while lowering the pay for the four part-time deputies, causing the budgeted amount to even out.
The coroner’s office investigates unattended deaths, anyone who dies at a hospital within 24 hours of being admitted, accidental deaths, homicides, emergency room deaths, deaths of infants and other specific circumstances.
Price said he would like a full-time deputy and a full-time secretary, but said he understands the county is in the midst of a hiring freeze.
The coroner’s office had a similar additional appropriation approved last year.
Price said he’s trying to compile some statistics on the number of cases to present to the council, in support of his latest request.
“That’s part of the problem. I don’t have time to go back and do the research. I close one case and I get two or three more,” Price said.
• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via email at email@example.com