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County: Unpaid days off table
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County employees will not have to take furlough days in 2010, though they still must face some financial cuts.

During a special called work session Thursday, county commissioners decided that eliminating additional vacant staff positions would make up the $677,000 needed to prevent five unpaid days off.

Because some figures will have to be recalculated, the commission has scheduled a special meeting Dec. 28 to adopt a draft of the 2010 budget.
The county still faces a nearly $1.2 million deficit in the proposed spending plan.

Some have suggested taking the money from the county's reserve funds, something Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse would rather not do.

"I personally don't particularly like taking funds from the reserves," Laughinghouse said. "But if it's necessary to do in order to move forward in 2010, then so be it. And that may be what we have to do."

Thursday's news about the furlough days brought a wave of relief over employees who attended the meeting.

The commission had previously considered a budget draft that called for furloughs to help ease financial woes.

At a meeting earlier this month, some county departments agreed to get rid of empty positions.

Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said Thursday he would eliminate 12 vacancies in his budget for this year, which brought the savings up enough to avoid the furloughs.

"The sheriff has stepped up to the plate," Laughinghouse said. "Anybody else willing to step up?"

Some department heads who opposed the furloughs noted various contributions, including printing on the front and back sides of paper.

Laughinghouse did not want to revise the budget for such small sums, but suggested those savings be put into a surplus fund that could help cover unseen expenses.

Employees will still take some cuts in the proposed budget.

The commission voted 5-0 for seven unpaid holidays and a 2 percent reduction in 401K funding. Both measures are only for 2010.

Laughinghouse said he hopes they will not be necessary in 2011.