How Budget Cuts are Affecting Warren County Departments

By: Lindsey Yates Email
By: Lindsey Yates Email

A 10% budget cut for most Warren County departments means tough decisions have to be made.

And they hope the sacrifices don't affect the community.

Warren County Volunteer Fire Departments and the Sheriff's Office are just two dealing with the financial strain.

"It's very difficult because we operate on income from dues and from donations, and from an allocation from Warren Fiscal Court, and our income has not been keeping pace with what our needs are,"says Chief Bob Skipper, Woodburn Fire Department.

Nine Warren County Volunteer Fire Departments had to decide where to cut $45,0000 from their budget.

"There won't be a cut specifically from every Fire Departments budget, it comes out of the maintenance fee that the County has for County owned equipment and building,"says Skipper.

While Skipper says it's not the most effective solution it's the only way without directly impacting the operating budgets.

"The negative effects could be that departments will have to fund out of their operating budgets some repairs, and if they can't fund the repairs you're looking at trucks possibly going out of service,"says Skipper.

Skipper adds they will have to deal with the cuts just like everyone else such as the Sheriff's Office, who has already dealt with the cuts for 2013.

"I had one take an early retirement and five deputies give up their hazardous duty retirement,"says Warren County Sheriff Peanut Gaines.

And now the worry is for the future.

"Next year if it goes the way it's going I'll have to lay six more off,"says Gaines.

Gaines says he will do everything he can to make sure that isn't the case.

"I want them to have the swimming pool but if you're swimming and they're breaking in your house and I ain't got enough deputies to go then what's the difference. You got to have Deputy Sheriff's, you
got to have law enforcement,"adds Gaines.

But Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon says they can only work with the money they have.

"We're not the federal government we can't print money so we have to make decisions based on revenue,"says Buchanon.

Buchanon says revenue is determined each year when the Fiscal Court sets the property tax rates.

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