Monday, November 10, 2008

Suggestion Box

HamCo Commissioner David Pepper is soliciting comments and suggestions on the proposed budget that was released today. While I hope we have a conversation about this issue in the comments here, I doubt that Commissioner Pepper reads our little ol' blog, so be sure to make your point there, too.

HamCo Administrator Patrick Thompson's recommendation (pdf) is available here. The Enquirer's coverage is here. I've read the recommendation; here's what I found notable:

  • Huge cuts to the Sheriff's Office. Patrols in Green, Anderson, and Colerain townships would end. Queensgate would close.
  • The Board of Elections gets a 24% budget decrease, but this is mainly because 2009 is an "off-year," in that no national or state-wide offices are at stake in elections.
  • The County Commissioners and Administration budget is slashed 35%. The County will no longer make any payment to SORTA.
  • The Recorder's Office's budget is reduced by 18%, the Treasurer's by 19%.
  • The Clerk of Courts would lay off one-quarter of its workforce.
  • Administrative functions of the Common Pleas, Municipal, DR, Probate, and Juvenile courts would be consolidated, resulting in 15 layoffs and $1 million in savings.
  • In all likelihood, Hillcrest Training School closes. This leaves juvenile judges with one institutional option: DYS.
  • For Municipal Court, a 20% decrease in funding to pretrial services and private complaint mediation and elimination of mental health funding (making ironic Commissioner Pepper's recent posts on the success of pretrial services and Mental Health Court).
  • The elimination of 22 positions in the Probation Department, including all MDO (mental health-related) probation officers.
  • In the Prosecutor's Office, the elimination of Project Disarm and the Witness Protection program.
  • In addition to the county budget cuts, DJFS is apparently facing a 300-employee layoff because of state cuts.
Let's be civil and polite in the comments. I know, lots of people will get excited about the prospect of making government smaller. But right now, hundreds of our neighbors are facing the loss of their jobs. The county's severance package is pretty lousy, as you'd expect: one week's pay per year of employment, with a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of eight.

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