County budget battle fizzles out

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By William Carroll

The promised battle over the Spencer County budget ended with a fizzle, as magistrates who had previously brought up a number of questions regarding budget figures changed their tune in approving the original proposed budget with only one change.
Thursday evening’s budget discussion ended up being fairly short as magistrates moved through the budget discussion in under 20 minutes. Magistrate Jerry Davis, who had previously called a special meeting regarding the budget and who had told the Spencer Magnet just days previous to Thursday’s meeting that he intended to produce his own budget, made a motion to approve the budget as presented by Judge Executive Bill Karrer in its entirety.
“I have continuously voted against the budget because it is too high, and the sheriff’s budget because it was too high” Davis said. “I have always said I am a voice for the people. I realized something on the 20th, when I took a royal ass whipping when I ran for judge. I looked over at the sheriff’s race and he won quite handily. I guess people agree they are getting good service and that it costs money.”
Davis then chastised the other magistrates who wanted a more thorough review of the budget.
“I understand that the magistrates want to go line by line and talk to all the department heads,” he said. “I have talked to all of the department heads. I also called a meeting before the first meeting. We were in that meeting for two hours. If you wanted department heads there you should have said so. Nothing was said about going line by line in the budget.”
Davis’ initial motion failed for a lack of a second after which Karrer outlined his position.
“No one came in or asked me for any information on the budget,” Karrer said. “I called Davis because no one had been in the office and asked him to please come pick up the information I used for the budget. I do not care… what you do with this budget. I even requested that if you had it (a new proposed budget) that you could bring it in and my deputy judge would put it in the proper form and format. I am not going to be part of a public spectacle and inquisition. Put your budget together, vote on it and we’ll send it up the flagpole to Frankfort and see if they salute it.”
After Karrer’s statement, Magistrate Woodie Cheek attempted to second Davis’ original motion. Davis then remade his motion which was seconded by Cheek.
During further discussion on the matter Magistrate Hobert Judd made a sub-motion to amend the budget by reducing the appropriation earmarked for recycling supplies by $25,000 from its original $50,000 figure. Judd said that he felt that $25,000 would be sufficient for all of the departments needs.
The magistrates voted 4-2 in favor of Judd’s sub-motion with Karrer and Davis voting against the change.
Also during the discussions, Magistrate Mike Moody reiterated his concerns, voiced in several previous meetings, that the county’s cash reserves were continuing to dwindle and that was the primary reason for his objection to the budget.
Ultimately the magistrates approved a first reading of the budget with the amendment suggested by Judd by a vote of 4-2 with Moody and Karrer voting against.
After the meeting Karrer said that his no vote was because he felt the amendment was “stupid”. Karrer had previously said that he would vote no to any change in the budget and that his no vote was consistent with this position. Karrer also said that he had no intention of allowing magistrates to perpetuate a “circus” and that he “would have walked out had they decided to go through the budget line by line.”