Afternoon news update

Jeffco Commission to vote on layoffs

Jefferson County Commissioners are ready to take out the red pen and begin their cuts.
Many knew cuts were coming because of the loss of the county's job tax. Next week the commissioners will vote to lay off 207 workers. The commission has announced their intention to vote on the layoffs next Tuesday. These will be non-classified workers. Basically, they are laborers who are not protected the Personnel Board. Most of the workers will be from Roads and Transportation, Environmental Services and from the Sewer Department. Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says these cuts are necessary in order to make payroll for the rest of this month. Collins says, "Everybody in that category can be laid off with a 15 day notice. This is an emergency to start on us our path to probably almost closing everything." The cost saving from the layoffs is 3.5 million dollars. The commission will also vote next week on suspending merit pay raises for classified workers. The cost savings on that vote is four million dollars. The bad news is more layoffs are expected in less than 30 days unless the county gets any help with its occupational tax crisis.

Hoover man's rape trial in deliberations

A jury is deliberating the case of a Hoover man who is charged with rape and impersonating a police officer. Closing arguments wrapped up in the case of Aaron Morrison earlier this morning. At 10:48 a.m., the jury went into deliberations. We have confirmed that they will return at 1:00 p.m. to ask the judge a question. Morrison is facing charges of rape and impersonating an officer. The victims in the case testified on Tuesday. One woman claimed Morrison abused her while she was sleeping at a friend's house. The other testified that Morrison raped her after they met at a bar in Hoover. Morrison testified he did not even know the first woman. He claims the second woman engaged in consensual sex with him.

Mike Hale to hold new conference on court budget cuts

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale is holding a news conference to give his opinion about the county cuts and what he thinks about releasing inmates to save money. Yesterday, Presiding Judge Scott Vowell met with 20 other judges yesterday to discuss options on how to cut their budget. Judge Vowell tells FOX6 News one option is cutting down on the number of days the court operates. Vowell says he really has no direct control over the courts finances. There is also a possibility that non violent inmates who are awaiting trial could be released from the Jefferson County Jail as a way to save money.

Langford refuses new budget request

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford is refusing to submit a new budget although the city council is requesting one based on new information. On Monday, councilors demanded a leaner budget. They say the city is 17-million dollars in the hole with the mayor dipping into the city's savings account to pay bills. City council members say they want lower spending and no pay cuts for city workers. Mayor Larry Langford says he does not plan to submit a new budget plan for next year. His version involves 415 million dollars in spending.

Jefferson County to not participate in sales tax holiday

Jefferson County will not participate in next month's sales tax holiday. The commission voted Tuesday not to give up the county's one percent sales tax. Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says the move will help the financially strapped county save 200-thousand dollars and prevent up to seven employees from being laid off.

New additions come to McWane aquarium

Some new additions have arrived at McWane Science Center. More sharks have been added to their new aquarium. The Shark and Ray Touch Tank will not be open to the public until this weekend. Visitors will be able to touch the creatures as they swim.