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Task Force Funding

Batesville yanks task force funding

By Jason C. Mattox

The City of Batesville will stop funding its portion of the county narcotics task force during the upcoming fiscal year.

Aldermen voted to remove an annual donation of $80,000 from the 2010 budget during a work session Friday morning.

“Is there a way that we could allow a smaller contribution, just in a good faith effort?” Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow asked.

Aldermen voiced their concerns about whether or not the city would still be serviced by the task force.

“We just have to hope the people involved will be professional and continue doing their jobs,” Ward 3 Alderman Stan Harrison said.

Police Chief Tony Jones said his recommendation to cut the funding came down to finances and not conflicts with others involved with the task force.

“This is not about friction between departments,” he said. “You are going to have that any time you have departments working together. This came down to dollars and cents that could be put into the city’s budget to help fund a pay raise or other things.

“I don’t have a problem with the money going into the county, and would like to see us leave the door open so that, if things are better for us next year, we could fund them,” he continued.

Morrow again asked about making a smaller contribution.

“I just didn’t know if it would be a good faith effort to contribute some funding without our officers being involved,” he said.

Jones said that question had been previously raised by former chief Gerald Legge who was told participation would be required.

“I want us to keep the door open to contribute to them in the future, but this year, this is a cut we felt we could make to help the city financially,” he said.

CPA Bill Crawford told aldermen the city could find the funds if they wanted.

“We can do an across the board percentage cut in expenses and find the $80,000 if this is something you really want to do,” he said.

Ward 4 Alderman Eddie Nabors said the board had a recommendation from the chief.

“I am happy with us going with his recommendation,” he said. “We all have to show that we support him.”

No action was taken.

In other board business:

• Aldermen voted to allow Street Department Superintendent Teddy Austin to purchase a Mosquito sprayer for $7,500.

• Aldermen voted to advertise a tax increase with the budget, even though there is no increase in millage or utilities. The increase will instead come from the county’s recent reappraisal.