Thursday, December 4, 2008

COAST Challenges County’s Wasteful Spending

Pepper & Portune Opt to Continue Spending Binge

At a public hearing on the County budget on December 3, COAST highlighted continued wasteful spending policies by County Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper.

Facing layoffs of Sheriff’s deputies and a loss of jail spaces that will result in "people dying,” according to one safety official, Hamilton County’s tax-and-spend County Commissioners have pursued a 2009-2010 biennial budget that includes:

· Two decades ago, when the County had more than a million residents, the three County Commissioners shared a single staff member. Today, they have more than 9 full time staff members. These employees are in addition to the bloated staff of the County Administrator’s office. The Commissioners not only have failed to cut a single dollar from this budget “priority," but have increased this line item by 2%.

· Commencing in 2007, the Commissioners started spending more than $2 million in County dollars annually on convention center promotion in Cincinnati and Sharonville. Prior to the democrat takeover of the County Commission there were no County monies spent on this non-priority item.

· The Commissioners have failed to properly apply more than $3 million in Sheriff’s Drug Forfeiture funds for law enforcement purposes. Current the Sheriff hoards the funds and uses them (we are not kidding) on coloring books, teddy bears, and the Sheriff’s bagpipe band.

· The grossly bloated office of the County Administrator has no real cuts, only eliminating positions for retiring employees.

In the midst of the greatest budget crisis of a generation,” according to COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd, “the commissioners continue to waste money on non-priority items.

Instead of addressing these critical budget savings, the County intends to lay off more than 250 Sheriff’s deputies, close Queensgate Correctional facility, releasing more than 450 inmates.

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