Collins: budget cuts near 44 percent - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Collins: budget cuts near 44 percent

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins speaks to reporters after a meeting with Sheriff Mike Hale on Monday (source WBRC video) Commission President Bettye Fine Collins speaks to reporters after a meeting with Sheriff Mike Hale on Monday (source WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County department and elected officials are bracing for budget cuts of 44 percent, not the 33 percent expected earlier this year.

Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins met with elected officials Monday to give the bad news.

"This is the tip of the iceberg if the sheriff's effort is successful," Collins said.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker ruled in favor of Sheriff Mike Hale last week, barring the county from spending $5 million taken from the sheriff's budget because of funding problems.

None of these proposed cuts are finalized, but Collins wants the county ready if Boohaker prevents any cuts to the sheriff's budget. Collins said she is not convinced the county can make payroll in two weeks, even with these cuts.

"If the judge exempts the sheriff from our control that's what they will have to cut in addition to what they already cut," Collins said.  "Even with that there is talk we may not be able to make the August 7th payroll."

Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Fallls said Monday if he has to take another $100,000 cut, it will be more difficult for him to prosecute criminals in the county.

"Less personnel to prepare a case, help us get ready to for court," Falls said. "I hope it doesn't come to that."

Jefferson County Tax Collector J.T. Smallwood said if his budget is cut by almost $100,000, it will mean a reduction in service and longer lines.

"We anticipated these cuts," Smallwood said. "Nothing we can do about it. We will do what we can with what we have and keep working hard to do our job."

 

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