County budget may have to be reduced - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

County budget may have to be reduced

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"It's got to the point we got to do something," County Commissioner Jack Stone said. "It's got to the point we got to do something," County Commissioner Jack Stone said.
The D. A. and his prosecutors The D. A. and his prosecutors
Public Works Director Larry Cook Public Works Director Larry Cook
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Dougherty County leaders are considering employee layoffs as they try to balance the budget with falling revenues.

Nothing is official yet, but department heads were told to prepare for a possible reduction in workforce.

Dougherty County employees are obviously concerned. No employee has gotten a pay raise in three years, and in fact their take home pay has gone down because of furlough days and higher insurance rates. Now, some could lose their jobs.

As the work on the new year budget begins, the recommendation has already been made to increase furlough days for Dougherty County employees from 5 to 9. But even that may not be enough.

"It's got to the point we got to do something." Layoffs could be a part of it? "Probably that could be some possibilities," County Commissioner Jack Stone said.

Last year's Dougherty County budget of more than $46 million  forced commissioners to use two point six million dollars in reserves.

 "You can't keep going to the reserves. We have used our reserves the last four or five years. We can't keep doing that," Stone said.

So County Administrator Richard Crowdis has all county department heads looking to cut all they can, including possible employee cuts. The District Attorney's office is already short one prosecutor.

"I would say that I am already understaffed, and certainly our crime situation merits as much attention as we can,"  D. A. Greg Edwards said.

Public works is 12 employees under its budgeted 61, and worker morale is a problem.

"That's where it's hitting hard. Is the morale of the employees. You start affecting pay raised and salaries and things like this, it does impact them drastically," said Public Works Director Larry Cook.

And commissioners say a tax increase is really not an option, so they have to look to get best use with what they have.

"You only have so much money there and that's it. The people can't afford no more money," Stone said.

Commissioners hope that retirements will take some employee positions out, and raising fees on some services and reducing money to the retirement fund will be enough to make budget with no layoffs.

Nothing is official yet, as work on the budget is just underway. The final budget is scheduled for approval by the commissioners June 27th.

  • You can see the county budget recommendations on-line when you click HERE.

 

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