County jobs on the line
December 2, 2011
Summit County Manager Bob Jasper and the county’s Budget Committee are proposing to eliminate three and a half positions in 2012 in order to revitalize the General Fund and balance the budget.
The committee and Jasper recommended that the County Council eliminate two animal control positions, a planning technician and reduce the historian position from full-time to half-time.
Since 2009, the County Council has reduced the number of county employees from 290 to 275.
"We decided to cut the planning position because the workload in the department has decreased and we think we can provide a similar service level with one less employee," Jasper said, adding that the Budget Committee had considered eliminating a building inspector but revoked that decision after a backlash from the building community.
" eliminating that position, we are just reacting to a decreased workload. But there are those months when the workload skyrockets, as it did this October, and getting building plans approved may take longer," Jasper added.
Eliminating two positions in the Animal Control department would save the county an estimated $100,000 a year.
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"We cut back in animal control simply because when we weighed priorities, compared to public health or the jail, this was a reasonable department to cut back in," Jasper added.
Jasper and Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier said that with the Animal Control department down to four employees, they will no longer patrol trailheads to make sure dogs are leashed and will not be able to respond as quickly to calls.
When Jasper presented his budget cuts to the County Council on Wednesday, they reduced the budget further by eliminating $40,000 worth of line item expenses and earmarking $330,000 of property tax revenue to be set aside as surplus funds.
According to Councilmember Chris Robinson, overestimating revenue from property taxes in the past is what got the county into trouble. By putting a portion of the estimated revenue into a surplus fund, the county will still able to access the money but will not depend on it.