City Departments cut expenses - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City Departments cut expenses

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's City Manager instructed all department heads to cut their budgets by 10%. That includes public safety. Right now, City leaders don't expect that workers will lose their jobs, but cutting more from an already tight budget without cutting employees will be tough.

When the call comes in, Albany Firefighters rush out. They depend on top-notch equipment, and teamwork to put out a fire and stay safe. But like all city department heads, Chief James Carswell has been told to cut his budget.  He said, "Everything's on the table."

While Carswell says he doesn't plan to cut staff, he can't rule it out completely, especially since he can't cut 10% without cutting people. "What percentage of your budget is personnel?" "96%" "So how do you cut 10% without cutting personnel?" "It's very difficult, obviously it is and it's one of the things we're having to look at and it's not a pleasant task."

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith says while everything is an option, cutting people will be a last resort. "We do not anticipate, at least at this point, any consideration of positions or existing positions or furloughs."

Rather, positions that become vacant, may remain unfilled. There's already a hiring freeze for all non public safety jobs, but even those positions may not be filled immediately. Smith said, "Public safety is our highest priority and will be given the highest consideration, but this is one of those years that you've kind of got to look at everything really tough."

Tough decisions being made in tough times. Trying to stretch taxpayers dollars and keep jobs.

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