County leaves hiring option open - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

County leaves hiring option open

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County Administrator Richard Crowdis County Administrator Richard Crowdis
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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

January 8, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A hiring freeze enacted by the city of Albany is a proactive approach to avoid a crisis. City Manager Al Lott says taking steps now to cut spending, will help the city in the long-run.

The county government isn't implementing a hiring freeze right now, but as the budgeting process gets underway for the next fiscal year, the county administrator won't be adding any new expenditures.

When the budget process takes place for the city of Albany each year, the final product is really just a guess, an estimate of how much money will come in to the city, and how much will be spent.

"In these days of economic downturn, we have noted that the revenue projections are not coming in the way we thought they would and it's one of the things that's happening all over the country right now," said City Manager Alfred Lott.

Revenues are down 20% over last year. "People are not spending as much as they were."

The slowdown in the housing industry has even impacted the city. Building and planning permits are down by $100,000.

"The best thing to do is to take certain steps to adjust our spending to realign it with revenues."

That's why Lott put a hiring freeze into place, for all departments except public safety. He's also cut out non-essential spending. "You do more with less and look for ways to be more efficient and more effective."

"I don't see at this point, unless something drastic happens, furloughs or hiring freezes like the city is looking at now, but that could change," said County Administrator Richard Crowdis.

Crowdis says while revenues for the county are coming in right as expected, the finance department is taking a critical eye to next year's budget.

"We won't be looking to hire new people. We won't be looking to expand services in a recession. You usually just tighten up whatever you're doing and just try to do what you do with less," said Crowdis.

And hope the recession won't last much longer.

Al Lott says if revenues pick up, he may relax the constraints he's put in place, but he isn't optimistic about that happening in the next few months.

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