WINCHESTER, Ky — The room was at capacity on Monday night for the meeting of the Clark County Fiscal Court where many voiced concern with recent budget cuts to the sheriff's office, but some magistrates say they do not expect any major changes will be needed in response to the cuts.
Sheriff Berl Perdue was the first to speak to the Fiscal Court and said he was blindsided by a cut of about $243,000 to the sheriff's office budget at the last meeting.
"We couldn't make these numbers work. There's just no way," he said to the court. "The only way we can make it work is to cut payroll, cut salaries, lay people off."
Several speakers also made their concerns known for the court, focusing on the four of seven court members who voted to approve the budget cut.
"What you've done is mess up families," said one woman who claimed her father was a sheriff's deputy.
"From a safety and security standpoint I think this is a monumental mistake," another man said.
But one of the magistrates who voted to approve the changed budget said the proposed sheriff's office budget was overestimated, and the approved budget was more in line with the revenue and spending of the department.
"I don't think any member of this fiscal court that I know of would want to jeopardize public safety," Magistrate Christopher Davis said. "We can certainly address any real issues or concerns about staffing or 24 hour coverage or any of the things that people legitimately concerned about."
The new budget was passed for next fiscal year, he said, which starts at the end of June. Budget meetings will be held in the Spring, he said, where the court can discuss any potential impacts the changes may have.
Davis said a budget can be amended at that point.