By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) chairman of the Belknap County Delegation, said Tuesday afternoon that he is not inclined to call a meeting to reconsider the $27.5 million budget passed by the delegation last week.
Belknap County Commissioners have requested the budget reconsideration, maintaining that the cuts made by the delegation threaten the ability of both the Corrections Department and the Sheriff's Department to carry out the statutory and constitutional obligations placed on their departments.
Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray said last week that he will not open the new 18,000-square-foot, 64-bed Community Corrections Center this September unless he has the money to adequately staff it.
Sheriff Mike Moyer said that the $126,736 which was cut from his budget endangers the department's ability to carry out its duties, which include serving civil process papers and court security. The cuts removed one full-time deputy position and one full-time dispatcher position and cut overtime by $10,000.
Gray made the statement after the delegation last Monday night rejected by a 7-5 vote a motion by Rep. Tim Lang (R-Sanbornton) to restore $95,400 which had been cut from the proposed Corrections Department budget.
Gray has maintained that he cannot safely open the annex without two additional staffers. Lang's motion would have restored the $55,400 for the two positions and $40,000 for dietary department at the jail, which Gray had added to his original $3.964 million budget request.
He also cited potential liability issues which the county could face with inadequate staffing if someone is injured in an incident. And he said that the cut places in jeopardy the possibility of obtaining $450,000 in grant funding over a three-year period for programs at the community corrections center.
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