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Layoffs unlikely after FCSO budget talks
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County officials met Thursday with Sheriff Ted Paxton to discuss possible solutions to his office's inability to meet its 2010 budget of $32.7 million.

"There was some progress made in understanding and realizing that the budget just wasn't enough," said Paxton, adding that laying off deputies is not being considered as an option.

At a June budget meeting, Paxton told commissioners the only way he could meet his 2010 budget without additional funding would be to lay off 88 deputies.

Paxton estimated this week that the office will need between $1.5 million and $2 million to operate without layoffs or reducing services this year.

With public safety a top priority, Commissioner Jim Harrell said laying off deputies was never an option in his mind.

"We're working on a number that we can all agree to and then the sheriff will bring that to us," Harrell said. "I'm assuming the board will vote to adjust his budget to what is absolutely required for this year."

Commissioner Brian Tam said he will vote in favor of the funding increase, which will come from the county's reserves.

"The sheriff and his [office] put a lot of time in trying to cut their costs instead of cutting services," he said.

The employees have been finding ways to run operations more efficiently, including significantly reducing overtime, Tam said. Still, the office will still need "a little more funding."

Paxton has said a $3 million cut in 2010, combined with an increase in service charges, left the office with less than it needs this year.

He said the office didn't have any operating capital money left by the end of June, and had been shuffling money between funds to pay its bills.

In looking toward the 2011 budget, the office will continue its money-saving measures, Paxton said, as well as leaving 10 to 15 positions vacant.