More Details in Benton Co. Budget Fight

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Last week, 7 Eyewitness News reported on a West Tennessee library losing their funding due to the county cutting them from the budget. Wednesday, we learned that the Sheriff’s selfless action to help, smacked them both in the face. The library begged the county commission for two hours not to pull their funding, or else they would lose their money from the state. Benton County Sheriff Tony King said he knew what this money meant for the library, so he could give up his share. “I had offered to give up a clerical position as I was sitting in the budget meeting when they were interviewing the library board trying to work out budget issues,” said Sheriff King. A position worth $30,000. “Offered some money that he was going to be getting for something he said that he could put off, and offered to give it to the library so we could continue to meet maintenance of effort,” said library director Rhonda Tippitt. Officials said this money could have helped save the county from having to break a promise with the state. A promise that guaranteed consistent funding from the county in order for the library to continue to receive money from the state. The promise is now broken. “In 75 year no library has ever been pulled from the library service from the state,” said Tippitt. Sheriff King said after he offered the money that he was going to be given for a new position the county cut the money for the sheriff’s department and the library. Residents and officials said they have no idea why. Tippitt said Sheriff King was just trying to do a good deed, because he is that kind of man. Sheriff King said the county must have assumed he did not really need the position if he was offering that money up to the library. Even though he has needed it for more than four years. Benton County commissioners will meet next month to discuss this issue further.

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