Jefferson Co. commission "playing hardball" with finances

By Alan Collins

JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALA. (WBRC) - Jefferson County Commissioners are looking to play hardball in their financial crisis.

The county is having its attorney look at withholding services and money if money is owed to the county.

"It's a legitimate cost. Cities are supposed to share the cost. I expect them to pay their bills like they expect us to pay our bills," Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington said.  

Carrington said much of the owed money involves the Jefferson County Personnel Board. Commissioners said with the potential loss of the occupational tax, they must find any money they can.

"We want to do what is right for citizens. If money is due, we must collect that money," commissioner Jimmie Stephens said.
 
County taxpayer Jerone Wiggins depends on county services and he is happy with the new get tough attitude.

"We are in debt. Desperate measures. Desperate times. Desperate times for desperate measures. Hardball." Wiggins said.

Commissioners hope to find money to continue services and to keep county satellite offices open. They are not happy to see county departments are padding their books.

Tuesday, Roads and Transportation Director Wayne Sullivan informed Carrington he would not have to adjust the county fuel budget unless gas prices hit $4.50 a gallon. Carrington said this is an example of county departments padding their budgets and that it is a widespread practice.

"A lot of people are padding. One thousand, two thousand, hundred thousand. We have to get down to realistic budgets." Carrington said.

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