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County holiday pay axed
Employee health care costs will increase
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County employees could be taking one, maybe two, for the team during the rest of 2009 and into 2010.

The county commission voted to make most of the remaining six holidays in 2009 unpaid for those not scheduled to work and increase some costs associated with employee health care in 2010.

The separate measures each passed Thursday by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Brian Tam opposing both.

Full-time employees still will be paid for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but Labor Day, Veterans Day, the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve will be unpaid time off.

The commission also addressed personal leave time as part of the same measure. Employees will not be allowed to "sell back," or receive financial compensation for, time off for the rest of the year.

Personnel Services Director Pat Carson said no pay on the four holidays could save the county $764,250 this year, helping offset a $5.7 million gap in the general fund for 2009.

County Manager Doug Derrer said the move is "just one of the measures ... we will recommend to [the commission] to make up the difference and balance the budget in 2009."

Commissioners could vote later on whether to extend unpaid holidays into 2010.

A work session is scheduled for Aug. 25 to further address the budget deficit and look at potential cuts in the 2010 budget, which has been projected to see a $7.6 million shortfall.

The health care change could mean a hike in what employees pay for deductibles and co-pay for doctor visits.

Commissioner Jim Harrell said he didn't "have a problem asking employees to pay a little more, because they are the ones using [health care]."

Carson said the increase in costs associated with health care could save the county more than $1 million.