Butler Co. looks to furloughs, salary freezes

By Dan Wells - bio | email

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Butler County commissioners are looking to furloughs and salary freezes to solve their budget shortfall.

A two-week furlough for all county employees would cut Butler County's employee costs by nearly 4 percent. On Thursday, county officials passed a resolution to authorize unpaid days off, but the move is not countywide.

Officials want to initiate furloughs in four departments - the commissioners office, the personnel department, the records center and computer support.

County officials say that should save about $100,000, but with the county's investments, sales tax revenues and fees continuing to plummet with the troubled economy, there is apparently a lot more to go.

"Earlier this week there was some budget reductions, and that has brought down what we have to deal with. We're at a point where we can utilize the county's reserve funds, but its about $5 million," said county administrator Tim Williams.

On the agenda was a resolution asking for a countywide cost savings plan, but that resolution was pulled from the table. Commissioners did talk about the need for more furloughs to come.

"Now if everybody did utilize the furloughs and it went across all departments, in the general fund and it's ten days between years end, it would be approximately $1.7 million," said Williams.

County commissioners say that's along with freezing non-union negotiated pay increases, which will save jobs.

"The hardest thing to do is layoffs," said commissioner Chuck Furmon. "We've already had to do about 70 layoffs and that is really a terrible thing to have to do."

County officials say they continue to look for ways to save money, and they don't imagine 2010 will be any better.

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