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Incumbents hash out tough budget
After attending three forums for County commissioner candidates, I’m impressed by the competence and professionalism of the incumbents, Angie Homola and Helen Price Johnson. I’m also struck by how little both of their challengers seem to know about the running of county government.
One of the challengers’ main complaints is that there has not been adequate priority placed on law and justice. At the recent candidate forum in Clinton, we heard why that notion is not correct.
It was noted that when the incumbents took office, the county was in real fiscal trouble. The first year projections were that the budget needed to be cut 10 percent. This was accomplished with minimal impact to law and justice. When the projections for the second year indicated a need for an additional 10 percent cut, it became apparent that this could not be done without more significant cuts across the board, including law and justice.
Realizing the impact this would have on our safety and security, the county put Proposition 1 before the voters, to provide funds to avoid these cuts. However, Proposition 1 failed due to strong opposition led by Mr. Lauderdale and others. Thus, in order to balance the budget it was necessary to make additional cuts to all departments.
Some departments were cut by as much as 50 percent to 78 percent. Law and justice, which is over half of the county’s budget, was cut 18 percent. In addition, county employees went to a four-day work week with a cut in pay for a year, which was later replaced with a reduction of medical benefits. These personnel cuts did not impact law enforcement officers.
So the claim that there has not been a priority on law and justice is malarkey!
I’m voting for Angie Homola and Helen Price Johnson to continue moving us through these tough economic times with dedication, integrity, commitment and experience. I urge all voters to join me.