Commissioners approve $14 million in budget cuts | News
HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19)- On Monday, Hamilton County commissioners approved the 2013 budget by a vote of 2-1.
The budget will fill a $14.4 million deficit, but that means county departments across the board will need to make cuts, and 150 people could lose their jobs.
While republicans Greg Hartmann and Chris Monzel voted for it, Democratic commissioner Todd Portune disagreed.
In our commitment to balanced news, here is reaction from both sides.
"We're making tough decisions," Hartmann said. "This is not an easy budget, but I think that the public expects that. Times are not easy for anyone."
"I know President Hartmann wanted a unanimous budget, but I could not in good conscious provide that unanimity when I think there are important things that are missing," Portune added.
"This kind of thing is just crazy," Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes said. "When you cut your basic services to the degree they have, you're just asking for trouble."
Rhodes is among many department heads that must now figure out how and where to cut back.
"There probably will be cuts," said Mark Waters, administrator at the Clerk of Courts. "We're hoping to do it in a way that doesn't affect the service that is provided to the public, but it may happen."
"It's irresponsible for county commissioners to cut statutory duties and the staff that performs those duties that we're required to do by law and continue to spend money, waste money if you will, on economic development," Rhodes added.
The Clerk of Courts department suffered a 16% cut back, much higher than the average 7% across the county.
"We're trying to work within the number that the commissioners have given us," Waters said. "It's going to be very difficult."
Both the auditor's office and the Clerk of Courts are hoping to be able to make cuts without laying off staff, but a large section of each budget is dedicated to wages.
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department will not face cuts.
Commissioners have until December 6th to decide how they will pay for both Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park in 2013, with a projected $22 million deficit for next year.
The County Administrator recommended on Monday that Hamilton County take back all of the property tax rollback promised in 1996, when voters passed a sales tax increase to fund the stadiums.
In the last five years, commissioners have chopped $65 million from the budget.
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