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      Lee County considers budgets along with fire service and EMS consolidation

      Lee County commissioners met Wednesday afternoon to review and interact with different departments that will soon bring forward their budgets. / Jessica Fairley

      This upcoming Tuesday, Lee County commissioners will meet to discuss how they can be more efficient in their fire and EMS services.

      Commissioner Greg Frich says the goal is to cover as much of the county as possible by spreading service to areas that aren't covered.

      He says commissioners will look into several options, including consolidation.

      "We haven't made any consolidation decisions. Consolidation, that's neither our going in position nor excluded from the conversation. That's what the discussion is about right now though is the efficiency," said Greg Frich, Lee County Commissioner.

      This information came out as Lee County commissioners met Wednesday afternoon to review and interact with different departments that will soon bring forward their budgets.

      Officials say they have less revenue coming in than they do requirements. Department requirements that are currently submitted to commissioners pass the projected budget by $2 million dollars.

      Doug Collins with the Lee County Extension approached the board with his budget requests.

      Collins is proposing a $93,000 budget for the next fiscal year. However if commissioners agree to fund an additional $5,000 for a new position, the proposed budget will be $98,000. If commissioners approve the proposed budget for the county extension, this would be more than a 20 percent increase from the previous year's budget.

      Commissioner Greg Frich asked if there's anyway that county extension officials can cut back spending to account for the requested $5,000.

      "Throughout the past years we've cut out just about all of the excess things that we could, so it's hard to come up with extra money when there is none," said Doug Collins, Lee County Extension.

      By the end of his meeting with commissioners, they located an extra $1,600 towards the new position.

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