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Kearns and Sons

County aims to downsize

 

Twenty jobs on the chopping block

By Michael Howell

If the county commissioners stick to their proposed budget, close to twenty jobs will be eliminated in the coming fiscal year. According to Commission Chairman J.R. Iman, about 19.6 employee positions are being eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. He said the job cuts didn’t hit every department but the cuts made applied to departments across the spectrum.

He said that half-time positions in the Planning Department and the Environmental Health Department were being eliminated, a three-quarter time and a half-time position were being eliminated from the Weed Department, one position in the Clerk and Recorders Office is proposed to be eliminated and two positions in the Justice Courts.

The commissioners heard complaints about the cuts in the Justice Courts and Judge Jim Bailey said that if the commissioners went through with the cuts in Justice Court that he would seek remedy in District Court.

“And you will lose,” said Bailey. (see related story)

The commissioners are scheduled to hear from Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg on Monday about the proposed cut in her department.

Iman said that the County has been in fiscal trouble for a long time. He said four years ago they cut the budget for every department across the board by 11 percent. But last year’s budget was not met in some departments, he said, and some expected revenue did not materialize. Compounding the problem, he said, is the loss of 3 percent in interest on entitlements that the state discontinued over the last two years. Add to that rising insurance costs, he said.

“We have already cut the fluff,” said Iman. “Now this year there is no more fluff. In the past we found ways to cut without cutting positions, but that was done.”

“We are asking departments to do more with less personnel,” said Iman. “In some cases it will reduce services. But when you don’t have the money, you have to learn to get along without some things.”

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