Jeffco Commissioners pondering budget vote for 2011 - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Jeffco Commissioners pondering budget vote for 2011

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A big vote will be made Tuesday morning for Jefferson County commissioners. They will decide whether to approve an $814 million budget for the new fiscal year.

Commissioners began debating the budget Tuesday morning when commissioner George Bowman objected to spending $2 million to cover the cost of John Young, the receiver appointed by a judge to fix the county's sewer debt crisis.  Bowman wanted the money taken out of the budget until county attorneys could ask the judge to lower the receiver's $500 per hour salary, but commissioners refused.

Commissioner Sheila Smoot also objected to the budget proposal, saying there were too many unanswered questions, including legal fees, and Commissioner Bobby Humphryes said he did not like spending so much money with a lawsuit still pending over the county's occupational tax.

In addition to the budget vote, commissioners were also scheduled to cast a second vote whether or not to give Sheriff Mike Hale almost $5 million to open the new Bessemer Jail. Not every commissioner agrees with the plan. Some say Hale should hire civilian correction officers instead of more expensive deputies and other commissioners question whether it is wise to dip into reserve funds to get the extra money for the sheriff's department.

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