Legislator Rush says he supports county budget

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – A budget vote that ended in a 3-3 tie this morning would be broken by Ken Rush, a county legislator who missed today’s vote.

Rush had surgery for carpal tunnel on Monday. He stayed home this morning, recovering from surgery.

But Rush said he supports the budget that calls for a 5 percent tax increase. It would raise the tax rate from $9.71 to $10.11 per $1,000 of assessed property.

“I don’t want to see a tax increase but the people have got to have a budget,” Rush said when contacted after the Legislature meeting.

Three legislators – Don Allport, Henry Smith and George Bower – opposed the budget, saying the tax increase was too much. Allport said department heads should be required to reduce spending by 10 percent in their departments.

Rush said the department heads have already worked to rein in spending.

“I don’t know what more can be done with it,” Rush said.

He wants to see the county work towards upgrading its emergency communications system. The budget includes a $475,000 initial debt service payment on the radio system upgrade. Rush said he wants that project to go forward.

The Legislature could have another vote on the budget before a Dec. 20 deadline. If the budget fails to pass, the tentative budget would take effect, which is identical to the one that was deadlocked in a vote earlier today.