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Forsyth Countys planning department revises budget request

FORSYTH COUNTY — Weeks after submitting its initial budget for 2016, Forsyth County’s planning and community development department is asking for some additional help.

During a meeting Tuesday, Planning and Zoning Director Tom Brown asked the county finance committee to reconsider his department’s budget as preparations for next year’s overall budget continue. Brown said he had asked for fewer new employees before finding additional office space.

“I was down to one open desk, so in our initial budget submittal I only asked for one full-time position [and two part-time],” he said. “… Just after we submitted the budget, we got some good news and that was that two rooms [had] opened up.”

Brown said he is working on moving 11 inspectors to a different site, thus opening up 11 work stations. The department’s new proposal is for an additional two full-time employees, including an assistant director, and two part-time employees.

The additional employees will get the department closer to their pre-recession numbers.

“We had a high of 65 people in 2008,” Brown said.  “By 2013, we had 40. We added five people in 2014 and two this year to bring it to our total of 47 staff people in the department.”

The additional workers would handle rezonings, conditional use permits, code changes and comprehensive plan work.

According to Brown, these are items that typically come before the county commission, but would also free up others to work on resident issues such as building permits and inspections.

There was some discussion of the issue, but the committee did not take any action on Brown’s proposal.