Mt. Vernon Register-News

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April 2, 2013

Budget discussion gets heated

MT. VERNON — Still faced with a possible deficit of nearly $71,000 by the end of April, county officeholders could provide no useful input on how to deal with the crises in a meeting Monday at the courthouse.

Instead, the meeting turned into a battle of words between Sheriff Roger Mulch and County Chairman Robert White, who disagreed on the use of Public Safety funds.

Mulch suggested using Public Safety funds to pay claims in the sheriff's department, recommending taking $500,000 out of the fund in the next 60 days to help the county with its financial shortfall.

That drew an emotional response from White, who replied, "You can take the money. If it's Public Safety money, it's your money. You want a half-a-million? Is that what you want?"

Mulch answered, "I don't know what the heated discussion is about. I'm asking somebody to look into into it to see if it's possible."

White said it's already been looked into, and added, "You can have the money. You want a half-a-million?"

"What's the big holdup here," Mulch replied. "You're pulling your tie off and you're getting irate. I don't know what the deal is. I said over the next 90 days if we need some relief…."

White asked if the money would be replaced; Mulch asked if the County Board is going to replace it, or will his office replace it, adding, "It's public safety money."

"So we should just spend it and call it a day?" White asked.

"If it's legal and you're facing a circumstance …. where you could save some jobs or whatever. I didn't say we had to do it," Mulch said.

"We have to be solvent first," White said. "The job of this Board is be solvent. We've invested a lot of time and effort in this whole effort. What really bugs me, sheriff, is that we keep spending money, and for what purpose? You're convinced that we're going to have ICE back in how long?"

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