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County may shed up to 100 jobs
Cuts aimed at budget shortfall
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Forsyth County News
More Forsyth County workers likely will lose their jobs as officials continue to hunt ways to save money.

County Manager Doug Derrer plans to talk with county department heads this week about cutting staff or services.

Such steps could help counter a 2009 budget deficit of $6.2 million, which officials have attributed to the declining tax revenues and other factors.

Commissioners heard from Derrer during Tuesday’s work session, where he presented options for shedding staff.

The possibilities range from trimming 32 jobs to as many as 100. The county has between 1,350 and 1,400 employees, according to Commissioner Patrick Bell.

Bell said Wednesday he thinks job losses will most likely total between 32 and 49, which could save the county between $440,000 and $674,000 in 2009.

The positions and the departments affected by the pending cuts have not been identified.

The commission could vote on the potential cuts at its next work session, scheduled for Sept. 8.

“It’s a very, very difficult thing to even consider,” Bell said Wednesday. “It’s reality though. We’re not immune, just like any other community.”

The board took action on other savings measures to help balance the budget Tuesday, including the use of funds from capital projects, vehicle transfer and contingency savings.

Chairman Charles Laughing-house was not opposed to using the money, but had some concerns.

“We’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, because we’re still going to have to buy vehicles,” Laughinghouse said. “If you don’t do these things this year, you’re going to have to do them next year.”

Bill Thomas, the county’s chief financial officer, said officials should keep in mind the projected $14 million shortfall for 2010.

“Decisions you make in 2009 will assist us in 2010 in lowering the assumed deficit,” he said.

In another money-saving measure, the county commission voted Aug. 19 to make most of the remaining six holidays in 2009 unpaid for those not scheduled to work.

At the same time, commissioners also voted to raise some employee costs associated with health care in 2010.

In July, the commission voted down a 2010 tax hike, which would have put a $5.7 million dent in the projected shortfall.

The county laid off 26 employees in 2008 as a result of a deficit. It also slashed the budget across the board by 5 percent.