LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee commissioners are struggling with budget and school resource officer issues. They had a briefing Monday from budget planners, who recommend deep cuts that would affect many thousands of residents.
"These are some really hard decisions to make," said commissioner Tammy Hall. The plans include cutting out some Lee tran bus routes, raising bus fares, closing some parks, and cutting out funding for many social service organizations.
"We will have some really hard choices to make, if we can't find unity on the budget.The days of pulling it out of reserves to balance the budget are over," said commissioner Larry Kiker.
The board also is trying to find a way to put a school resource officer in each of 45 elementary buildings in Lee. But commissioners are balking at the extra cost, when they are trying to make up a $30 million budget shortfall. Several indicate: they'd like the Lee school district to pay more than one-half to fund the extra deputies for elementary schools.
Commissioners are supposed to take a formal vote on May 21 on whether to allow the sheriff to apply for federal funding for resource officers. If Lee goes along with the sheriff's plan, it would have to come up with ab out $1.3 million this year. That funding would grow to more than $2 million in four years.
The call for officers in every school came after the massacre at an elementary in Connecticut in December.