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Public Hearing On County Budget Today

Branch County Sheriff's Department
Branch County Sheriff's Department

BRANCH COUNTY, MI (WTVB) - Branch County government’s spending plan for 2013 is up for a public hearing this afternoon during the next to last meeting of 2012 for County Commissioners.

Next year’s proposed budget includes more than a million dollars in cuts with most of the reductions aimed at the Sheriff’s Department, where up to 7 deputies are expected to be laid off on January First. That number is about half the positions that were expected to be impacted in the aftermath of the voter’s rejection last month of a millage increase to fund the sheriff’s road patrol. Late last month, retiring Sheriff Warren Cannon and Sheriff-elect John Pollack told County Commissioners they had discovered a way to temporarily pay for enough deputies to maintain at least a partial road patrol by using monies from the county’s jail maintenance levy.

The one year fix could be permanently addressed if, and that’s a big if, voters ultimately approve a road patrol millage, which the County Board might put up for another vote, possibly in May or later this year.

Today’s County Commission meeting is set for 4 p.m. Final approval of the 2013 budget is slated for Commission’s December 20th meeting.