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Marion County Sheriff’s Office Withdraws $17 Million Budget Request

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Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair still believes his agency deserves a funding boost, but he won’t get one.

That’s nothing new for the sheriff’s department that has lost about 150 jobs since 2007  because of budget cuts.

The sheriff withdrew his request for more money Thursday. That was part of the agreement he made with the Marion County commission to save 175 law enforcement jobs.

Those jobs were on the line when the commission delivered its proposal showing a $2.2 million cut for the sheriff’s department.

Blair said he met with his staff before dropping his funding request.

“I saw it in their eyes. They were very concerned about losing their jobs,” he said. “They’ve got families to feed.”

Blair had requested a $17 million budget increase. He then cut that request to $8 million.  He finally settled for breaking even.

That caused the commission to adopt a small tax hike for police services in unincorporated Marion County.

The vote passed 3-2, with commissioners Carl Zalak and Stan McClain in dissent.

Homeowners affected will likely pay $20-$50 more in taxes a year.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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