Jefferson County sheriff declares victory in budget case

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale is declaring victory in his budget battle with the Jefferson County Commission.

On Thursday Jefferson County Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker ruled county finance officals acted arbitrarily and capricious in making a $5 million dollar cut.

Sheriff Hale says if he had to take a $5 million hit that would mean the loss of his entire patrol division. "This has never been about Mike Hale or the deputies," said Hale. "It has been about the men and women of this county, that deserve safe neighborhoods and safe communities." Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says the budget battle came down to who calls the shots in budgeting. "It's about whether the county can set a budget like other departments based on revenues," said Collins.
  Commissioner Bobby Humphryes says these are tough economic times and he doesn't know  where Hale plans to get the money to pay his deputies. 
         Commissioner William Bell hopes to restore the relationship between the sheriff and the commission. "My daddy told me not to get police chiefs, sheriff deputies or sheriffs upset with you," said Bell.
        Sheriff Hale says he welcomes a return to the bargaining table with the commissioners. But Commissioner Collins says the commissioners are not negotiators and this could open the door for other county departments to seek more funds.