COLDWATR, MI (WTVB) - Branch County Commissioners yesterday faced a standing room only audience including a half-dozen sheriff’s deputies and family members and citizens at large with those from the public openly criticizing the commission for its expected approval of budget plans that would bring the layoff of 11 road patrol deputies on January First. The one million dollar spending cuts proposed for the Sheriff’s Department come in the wake of the voter’s rejection last week of a millage increase that would have funded the road patrol.
Commissioner Rod Olney, chairman of the Board’s Finance Committee, took exception with comments that the Board did nothing at all to promote passage of the millage question. Olney said he pushed for approval of the tax hike at township meetings in his district as well at church gatherings. He also called out the law enforcement in the audience yesterday, saying he couldn’t recall seeing any deputies, or sheriff, or sheriff’s candidates at any of the meetings talking up passage of the levy when they had the chance to do so. Final approval of going ahead with the cuts would come when the 2013 general fund budget is adopted next month.