Sheriff budget hearing resumes

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The court hearing over a decision by the Jefferson County Commission to cut more than $5 million from the sheriff's budget continues today.

Monday evening, Jefferson County Finance Director Travis Hulsey testified the sheriff's office office can survive without the money cut from the budget late last week.

Sheriff Mike Hale sued the county commission, saying the cuts were not only illegal, but would also force him to layoff 155 deputies and close the narcotics division, endangering the safety of Jefferson County.  He is asking the court to overturn the budget cuts.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Carns testified Monday afternoon, saying he did not know how the $5 million funding cut would impact the sheriff's office, but said, "all county agencies are important and all must be cut."

Capt. Dennis Berry, who oversees the sheriff's budget, testified if the sheriff's department has to take the cut, it would lead to 155 deputies being laid off. Berry also said the layoffs would leave Sheriff Hale as the only person available to patrol the Birmingham division and Assistant Sheriff Allen Farley as the only one available to patrol the Bessemer division.

Judge Boohaker said Monday afternoon he wanted to wrap up testimony by Tuesday afternoon.