Previously on Lake Effect, County Executive Chris Abele commented on the county’s budget for the coming fiscal year. The County Board passed an amended version that restores cuts to the budget for the Sheriff’s office, and includes an increase in the county’s tax levy.
Abele is expected to veto some items in the amended budget, and the board is scheduled to take possible override votes at its meeting on Wednesday. Board Chair Theo Lipscomb hopes that key provisions will not be vetoed, such as dam repairs. However, Lipscomb believes that the County Board is in agreement with a large majority of the budget such as funding for the Office of African-American Affairs and reintroducing municipal IDs.
"There's always agreement on probably 98 percent of the budget...it's a $1.37 billion dollar budget and we end up probably arguing over ten or twenty million dollars of those expenditures in great detail," he says.
More contentious areas of the budget include the use of reserve funds and the budget for the Sheriffs Office. Lipscomb terms a proposed 12-percent budget cut as 'not realistic,' given increases in costs the department has dealt with in recent years.
Lipscomb also weighed in on controversial remarks made by Sheriff David Clarke in recent weeks, saying the comments should not be tied to the Sheriff's budget.
"Certainly I’m appalled at many statements the sheriff has made and I’ve told him as much," says Lipscomb. "But that’s different than what is my view of the role of the department and how do we have to support the hundreds of men and women who serve every day and put their lives on the line for public safety and need those resources."