Budget woes continue in Hamilton County

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - We all know the Hamilton County Budget situation is bad, which is leading to hundreds of painful layoffs that may take a toll beyond the families of those who lose their jobs.

Balancing a budget is no easy task, and closures and a loss of service taking place across the board.

But now county officials are learning the loss of hundreds of county workers doesn't necessarily mean big savings.

Hamilton County officials have been working for weeks to cut more than $30 million from next year's budget.

But those affected by this shortfall only seem to grow as talks continue.

"Our county administrator has recommended, actually the number is 860 layoffs in this budget between our general operating fund and our separate all funds budget, which are state and federal dollars that we administer on behalf of state and federal government," said county commissioner Todd Portune.

Portune says as the budget picture becomes even clearer, he's worried separation costs involving in laying off county workers could mean the county has even more of a budget hole to patch.

"What worries me is a potential catastrophe in the making for our local community," said Portune. "It's someone who, rather than working for a county that provides services will be come one of those people who needs those services to help them out, to get through this very difficult time, so you run the risk of layoffs of that capacity actually creating greater need in our community."

Eighty-seven Hamilton County deputies will be notified this week they will be laid off on Christmas Eve.

The county hopes to adopt the 2009 budget before Dec. 17.