COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -A Colorado county clerk is denying claims that his staff stopped answering phones because of budget cuts.

Some El Paso County officials had complained that the staff of the county Clerk and Recorder’s office stopped answering calls and that recorded messages referring all callers to their offices.

However, County Clerk Bob Balink told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the accusations were not true. He said no one has been told to stop answering calls.

Balink said budget problems forced him to cut 26 positions late last year, leaving all his offices scrambling to keep up with calls. But he said everyone is still expected to answer phones.

Balink says many callers reach his office by mistake while trying to reach another department.

AP-ES-02-17-09 1258EST

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