Fulton County to decide on budget

Fulton County Commissioners are expected to decide the county's proposed  $571 million 2010 budget Wednesday that county officials say they have shrunk by about 10 percent because of the economic downturn.

The county's justice system -- the district attorney, the circuit clerk, the Superior Court -- have rallied public support to protect its budget from cuts but Commission Chairman John Eaves says that all departments are getting cut.

Justice system officials contend that the 5 to 6 percent cut projected for its departments threaten to derail the substantial progress made in reducing the backlog of court cases and overcrowding in the jail. The Sheriff's Office's proposed budget of $94.3 million, which dwarfs other departments because it runs the jail, includes an 8 percent cut. The sheriff and the justice system consume about one-third of the county's proposed budget.

County Manager Zachary Williams says the county needs to cut $61 million from its what it had hoped to spend in fiscal 2010, substantially less than the $130 million in possible reductions projected in November.