Published: Apr 02, 2013 6:22 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County's top cop is marshaling new evidence, to counter a claim that some deputies receive food stamps.

A union, representing 400 Lee deputies, is running billboards and a website claiming deputies are paid so poorly, that 120 qualify for food stamps, and 40 actually receive those benefits.

Today, Sheriff Mike Scott sent out an e-mail claiming deputies make an average, gross income of nearly $50,000 a year. That covers pay and other benefits, including a free health clinic. Scott says the union, is using "propaganda"  to bargain for pay raises.