Sheriff, commission president meet over budget - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Sheriff, commission president meet over budget

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins, left, and Sheriff Mike Hale talk to reporters after a closed-door meeting on Jefferson County's finances. (WBRC video) Commission President Bettye Fine Collins, left, and Sheriff Mike Hale talk to reporters after a closed-door meeting on Jefferson County's finances. (WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale and County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins met behind closed doors Monday afternoon to discuss proposed budget cuts.

Hale arrived at the courthouse at 2 p.m. where he and Collins began meeting privately in the commission's conference room. They met for almost an hour.

After the meeting, Collins said progress was made.  Hale agreed, saying he learned some things he did not know about the county's finances.

Hale said if he gave back the $5 million cut by the commission from his budget, it would still not be enough to pay for county employees and sheriff's deputies.  Hale said the legislature needed to act quickly or the county would run out of money very soon.

Hale and Collins were ordered last week by a judge to sit down and discuss budget cuts. Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker ordered the meeting after refusing to let the commission take more than $5 million from the sheriff's budget.

The commission cut millions of dollars from county departments, including the sheriff's department, after another judge ruled earlier this year the county's occupational tax was unconstitutional.

Hale said he and Collins did discuss some areas of his budget that could be cut.  He said their attorneys would have more meetings and a report would be to give to the judge on Thursday.

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