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Monday, June 14, 2010 - 4:41am

Cagle Wants Funding Restored for Columbus GBI Lab

The GBI crime lab in Columbus is set to close in a few weeks…or will it? Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle says he’s going to fight for money to keep it open.

Cagle told Columbus officials last week he’s “determined” to fund the lab into the next fiscal year, because public safety is a priority. To that end, he wants to meet with Governor Sonny Perdue soon to talk about restoring the money.

Perdue told the GBI to close the regional labs in Columbus and Moultrie. That despite more than $400,000 earmarked by the General Assembly to keep them running.

Governor spokesman Bert Brantley says with the budget now signed into law, it’s harder to move money around.

“What we can do is take a look at the programs the GBI has and see what kind of flexibility there is. And that flexibility is question about that. The key question here is what is the highest priority we want for the GBI? Is it to keep a lab or two open in other parts of the state that takes away from the work that the main lab can do where they do the vast majority of the services anyway?”

Brantley says Perdue and Cagle meet all the time, and the Governor is fine to meet over this issue.