Sheriff 2010 budget 15 to 50 percent lower

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale (WBRC video)
Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale (WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was told Wednesday his budget for the next fiscal year would be at least 15 percent lower, regardless of what happens with the county's occupational tax.

Hale spoke to FOX6 News after meeting with county leaders Wednesday afternoon for a scheduled 2010 budget hearing.  Hale said the county leaders told him his budget beginning October 1 would be a minimum of 15 percent lower due to the downtown in the economy.

Hale said if revenue from the occupational tax is not restored before October 1, he was told his budget would be cut from its current level of $60 million to $31 million, a nearly 50 percent cut Hale said would be "devestating."

Hale said he could possibly live with a 15 percent budget cut, but would have to see what happens financially during the next few weeks.

Hale said he would call Gov. Bob Riley this afternoon to update him on the budget talks.  Hale has asked Riley to provide either $4.1 million to cover the amount of money cut out of his budget last week by the county commission or provide Alabama National Guard soldiers to patrol the county and secure the courthouses in Birmingham and Bessemer.