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Money for drug task force cut

Funding for the 4th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force has been cut, but District Attorney Michael Jackson said that would not affect its operation.

The drug task force is funded through a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Funding for the program last year was $150,000. ADECA approved $65,000 for the 2008-09 fiscal year that runs from October to September.

Jackson said because of the ongoing war in Iraq, funding for drug task forces across the country has taken a hit.

“The DA’s office has to make up all this money that they cut out of the grant,” Jackson said. “Some DA’s offices didn’t even apply for the grant because there’s so little money that they’re giving out this year.”

The district attorney’s office is required to put up 50 percent of the proposed $300,000 of the task force’s budget.

Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Thomas has sought the help of municipalities in the six counties the task force serves. He also said that continuing the task force means cutting a piece out of the overall budget for the district attorney’s office.

“One thing we’re going to have to do is cut a portion of the operating expenses out of our budget. That’s about $45,000,” Thomas said.