MADISON - During the Boone County Commission's regular session on Sept. 17, Boone County Clerk Roger Toney was represented by Madison-based attorney Matthew Hatfield of Hatfield & Hatfield who made a request for the Commission to accept $900 from Toney, which represents the amount that the clerk believes that his office is short in reaching their budget after all requested cuts.
All elected officials were asked to cut eight percent in March and then another 20 percent by Sept. 1 in an effort to tighten up a $2.5 million gap in the county budget.
According to one county official, the Boone County Commission's office believes that the numbers from Toney's office represent far more than a $900 bridge to a balanced budget.
"First of all there is no county money paying me to be here," said Hatfield. "I am here as a favor to County Clerk Roger Toney. He has prepared or presented a budget and he was budgeted initially for $384,866. That was the 2020 budget and he had to make an eight percent reduction in his budget in March of this year."
After Hatfield discussed the personnel moves that led to the eight percent reduction followed by the twenty percent cut within Toney's office that totaled $33,466. and $40.948.68, respectively, he spoke about the clerk's desire to cover the shortage out of his own pocket.
"If you add those together, you come up to $55,725.66 which is about $900 shy of the $56,640.90 he was instructed to take out of his budget." Hatfield said. "I spoke to Mr. Toney about that and I haven't seen the ethics (commission) opinion but he has it and he is willing to donate $900 of his salary back to the county commission he he says he has an ethics opinion that allows him to do so. He asked me to come forward to present this to the county commission. His office is vital to keep the county running and operating and in business."
The commission tabled the request and Boone County Commissioner Brett Kuhn addressed the request immediately after the meeting.
"If Roger (Toney) feels that he needs to do that to make his office function after we have a chance to look at all of the numbers providing it is ethically sound then it is his prerogative to do so," Kuhn said. "We've been presented with numbers that I want to take a deeper look at. Everyone has to take part in the 20 percent reduction and however we end up with that total, that is what we'll do."
The commission will meet again on Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. on the third floor of the Boone County Courthouse Annex.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com or at 304-307-2401.