During its monthly meeting today, the board of commissioners announced it released several employees in an effort to reduce its 2013 budget.
The reduction in force includes layoffs, voluntary resignations from positions that were not replaced, and retirements from position that were also not replaced.
According to Chief Financial Officer Faye Harvey, the reductions spanned four departments. In the Planning and Development Department one employee retired and one was moved to part-time; two employees were laid off and three resigned voluntarily in the Roads Department; one employee retired in the Water Department and was not replaced, and one was moved to part-time in the 911 Department.
The department reductions and rearrangements totaled a savings of $335,539. In her report during the meeting, Harvey also said superior court cut its budget by $10,000, juvenile court by $20,000, and the sheriff’s office by $125,000. The total budget reductions to date are $490, 539. During the meeting, Commission Chair Robert Jones said additional budget reductions are planned, but did not say where the cuts would come from or when they would come.
“It’s a good start. We just need deeper cuts,”
District Two Commissioner Becky Denney said.
The effort is a response to public outcry over the budget toward the end of last year, when the county raised the millage rate to pay the Young Life of Texas settlement, which was scheduled to be paid this month. The millage increase sparked a town hall meeting when department heads vowed to reduce their budgets. Also, during the BOC work session earlier this month Jones said the board’s goal was to cut $1 million from this year’s budget by the end of January. The total reductions to date, however, only represent half of that goal.
In order to rectify the 2012 Budget, the board also approved a budget amendment. Harvey explained last year’s budget had a discrepancy between the budget numbers on record in the minutes and the amounts in the accounting system.
“The bottom line did not change,”
“but several department budgets have changed.”
She also said it appeared that at some point last year, the county had plans to amend the budget, but the amendment was never approved in the minutes, yet the budget amounts were changed in the accounting system. The board approved the amendment unanimously.
During her brief financial report, Harvey noted the revenues from the Local Option Sales Tax (L.O.S.T) collected in 2012 increased two percent from 2011. Last year. L.O.S.T collections totaled $2,862,000, while in 2011 collections totaled $2,801,000. She also said Special Option Sales Tax (S.P.L.O.S.T) collection increased over two percent for 2012 bringing in $4,880,181 for the year.