As Hamilton County budget meetings continue, the story remains the same. Department heads are still begging to keep their budgets intact... and commissioners keep saying everyone will have to deal with less.
Lamenting unfunded mandates from the state legislature is another popular refrain.
Board member Todd Portune says, “At what point do those above us in this hierarchy acknowledge that they can’t just keep demanding and expect to be absorbed? I would argue that we’re at that point.”
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.
Hamilton County Commissioners are navigating the budget process for next year. No decisions have been made but they're already responding to comments from outgoing Sheriff Simon Leis that they plan to gut his department.
Leis threatens proposed cuts would mean laying off employees and reducing space at the overcrowded county jail.
Commissioner Chris Monzel says public safety is a top priority.