Hamilton County budget
3:02 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Hamilton County budget process "challenging"

Hamilton County Commissioners are meeting with department heads as they work out next year's budget. With most agency leaders begging not to have their budgets slashed and Commissioners facing steep cuts, the meetings don't last long.

Board president Greg Hartmann calls the process challenging.

“We’re in the neighborhood of being $100 million dollars smaller than we were six years ago, from $300 million to $200 million,” he says.

Hartmann says public safety is a priority and a challenge... with jail concerns and the Sheriff's office warning his staff is at a bare minimum.

“We can’t afford to close any more jail beds or lay off patrol officers so we’ve got work to do on this budget. I think that all the elected officials that we work with through this budget process realize that we can’t increase revenue, that’s not the right answer. We’ve got to live within our means.”

He says the county will have to be creative.

“We have to think in new terms. Having government facilities open all the time has been something that has existed in the past that the public might have gotten used to… I think the public could deal with government offices being open less, examples like that.”

Two more budget working sessions with department heads are scheduled for next week.