PERRY COUNTY (WSIL) — Dozens of residents and leaders came out Thursday to voice their opinions to the county board about its proposed amended budget unveiled earlier in the week.
Board members had planned on slashing nearly $1.3M to help balance the budget.
One person to address board members is Judge James Carl Campanella. He’s worried about state mandates to digitize files, but a lack of funding to do so if the budget were approved.
“How am I going to take and operate a courthouse that has no more effectiveness than that,” he remarked. “I tell you how? I won’t.”
Another fear brought up, a massive reduction of funding to the sheriff’s office. “I believe there is a need for cuts. But I believe we’ve gone too deep too quick,” says Sheriff Steve Bareis.
This would mean limited dispatch from only 8 a.m. to midnight, closing the jail and reduced patrols.
One woman got emotional during the meeting is Krystal Reagan. Her husband has been with the sheriff’s department for 13 years and often covers a large area on his own. She’s used to the risk her husband takes every day but is concerned about the safety of residents who live in the county if these cuts were to be made.
“The people I feel sorry for is you because you don’t choose to feel unsafe where you live,” she says.
One resident commended the board for finally starting to take an approach to fixing the budget. He says it’s an issue that has been kicked down the road for far too log.
The meeting ended with the start of a solution, the county is on track to hire a third-party consulting firm to balance the budget.
Hiring the firm would cost anywhere from $20,000-$80,000. The decision will be made final on at the next board meeting on Tuesday, April 23 at 8 a.m.