News

Most county employees to see cuts

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Fifteen county employees received layoff notices and most who remain will take a pay cut through reduced work hours.

 

The layoffs, issued in mid-October and effective Nov. 30, cut more than $800,000 in salaries from the county’s general fund. A total of 28 full-time positions are proposed to be cut for the 2012 budget.

 

The county faces a $2.4 million shortfall and County Administrator Jim Jones said they can’t dip into reserves this time.

 

Jones’ recommended budget included 30 layoffs. Over the past several weeks, department managers have sought ways to save money and keep people working, mostly through reducing hours.

 

The county’s department heads and elected officials, with the exception of six whose salaries are set by the state, will take a 6.25-percent pay cut. That includes all three county commissioners and Jones, all of whom also volunteered to take additional pay cuts for a total savings of $40,191.

 

Through shortening work hours from 40 hours a week to 37.5 hours a week, 164 county employees also will take a 6.25-percent pay cut. Hourly patrol deputies and sergeants, correctional deputies and sergeants and juvenile officers will not see a reduction in work hours.

 

Law and justice officials requested a sales tax increase be put on the ballot as soon as possible to generate additional revenue for their departments.

 

County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly, Sheriff Bill Benedict, Judges Ken Williams, Rick Porter, S. Brooke Taylor and George Wood proposed a one-tenth of a percent increase that would generate $848,000.

 

The special election would cost $82,400, according to budget projections.

 

Public budget hearings begin Dec. 6.

 

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

 

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