House File 718 has caused quite the stir Henry County. Across different departments, drastic budget cuts will be required to reach a general basis levy of $3.50, which is currently $4.83 in our county. Many programs will need to be cut out completely just to make a small dent in the budget, while Henry County Supervisor Greg Moeller believes personnel is where the bulk of cuts will come from.
The County Attorney’s Office met with the supervisors on Thursday, January 4th, to discuss these potential cuts to their budget. After a motion passed at a recent meeting completely voiding raises in the county, the attorney’s office proposed a new budget that is around a 4% decrease. Cutting nearly $20,000 from their budget will see popular services such as the drug test kits be abolished. These kits allow first time drug users the opportunity to prove that they can “get clean” and avoid potential greater punishment.
It was revealed that a 3.89% cut is nowhere near enough, and it seems 12% is more appropriate. A supervisor mentioned that the board is not picking on a single department. Darin Stater, County Attorney, told the board that he “slashed” his budget 18 years ago, and that personnel is what he needs to run the office properly.
Supervisor Moeller responded, “I don’t see how your personnel will all make it through the next four years.” After this comment, Stater made it clear that he believes not every department should experience the same cuts, saying “I suggest [the] cuts shouldn’t start with public safety.”
Uncertainty seems to be in the air regarding House File 718, which will see the county needing to decrease their budget 1.3 million dollars by 2027.
There is a Mount Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce Public Official’s Reception this evening, which promises to provide potential answers to the questions that everyone is asking.