BUDGET CRUNCH: SNOHOMISH COUNTY TO ELIMINATE 160 JOBS
November 25, 2008
(EVERETT, WA) -- In yet another nod to how serous things have become in the local economy, in front of a standing room only crowd made up mostly of county employees the Snohomish County Council yesterday approved by a 4-1 vote a 2009 budget that calls for the elimination of 160 county jobs.
Almost half of those jobs are vacant so that means some 80 currently employed workers will be laid off.
And the council warned more reductions could be needed in 2009 if economic conditions worsen.
The council also called again on county executive Aaron Reardon to negotiate mandatory 10-day furloughs with the county's labor unions for all but essential personnel.
Those furloughs, or other cost-saving efforts may be needed says the council to reach the final $2.5 Million dollars in savings out of some $21 Million dollars in cuts that are needed to balance the $814 Million dollar budget.
Council members say the current situation is the worst budget crisis to face the county in recent times. Snohomish County’s revenue from construction and home sales has dropped sharply as has sales-tax revenue and income from investments.
Snohomish County Council Chairman Dave Sommers said there might be even more job cuts then the 160 jobs on the chopping block at present. He said the county is still short that $2.5 Million dollars so it has asked all department heads to go back and look again at their operations and come back in January with further proposals on how to whittle down hat $2.5 Million dollar shortfall.
Holly Faller, a supervisor in the county’s planning and development services department, says that department will lose about half its staff. In published reports Faller is quoted as saying that just that a year ago so many people were getting building permits for Snohomish County that the department could hardly keep up.
"Our lobby was full, we had two-hour waits and the economy was going great. We had a lot of builders in here. Now it's gone to practically no one in the lobby," said Faller.