Local Politics

Harnett government considers employee furloughs

Posted June 16, 2011
Updated June 17, 2011

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— More than 100 people gathered at a public hearing Thursday night to shares opinions on Harnett County's proposed budget, which would require county workers to take to furlough day once a month.

Under the proposed budget, property taxes would increase by 5 cents per $100 valuation.

"For the average taxpayer, based on a home value of $134,000, the impact would be a tax increase of $67 annually, or $5.58 per month," County Manager Scott Sauer said in an e-mail to WRAL News.

Kenneth Wiseman had never spoken at a council meeting before, but he was compelled to speak at Thursday’s hearing when he heard the tax rate might be raised to 5 cents.

“I live on a budget. I’ll bet you 99 percent of the people in here live on a budget. You need to learn how to live on a budget,” Wiseman said.

Commissioners say the added increase will avoid the layoffs of 27 employees.

This year's budget proposal is $5 million less than last year's budget and requires county employees to take 12 furlough days as year. 

The proposed furlough would affect county's 1,000 workers, including law enforcement, EMS paramedics, public health, social services and parks and recreation.

harnett county commissioners Harnett residents fight property tax increase

Several residents voiced concern that Sauer received a 5 percent raise in February while workers might be losing a day of pay. 

Sauer said he declined a raise last year, but the council voted to give it to him this year. 

When asked, Sauer said he deserved the raise because "I work hard. I took a raise, and I was given a raise by the board, which is very comparable to the raises that other employees have received in the last 30 days." 

The board is expected to vote on the budget next Thursday but could push the vote back a few weeks.

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  • commonsense1911 Jun 20, 2011

    Kannr. I don't live beyond my means, I am happy to have a job but is living good and being thankful for my job a reason to let the county manager do as he pleases with my county? Is it a reason to let him run us into the ground before he waves bye and moves on to the next place after the heat gets too much here? How can you fault the people of this county for being in an uproar because we are taking cuts at every turn while the board and county manager continue to flourish? You sit over there and wallow in your gratefulness- the rest of us will continue to cry out for fairness.

  • kannr Jun 20, 2011

    commonsense1911 - No, I am not on the Board. However, I am an employee who is apparently seeing a raise in my property taxes and will have to take 12 furlough days this coming fiscal year. However, since I DO NOT live beyond my means and have lived the past 3 years witout a COLA increase, I am happy to still have a job.

  • Straightup50 Jun 17, 2011

    Lets just cut to the chase....Harnett County went downhill when Scott Sauer was hired by the board. And exactly why would a board hire someone with a prior track record of running several counties into the ground. Oh, wait..the board did not do their homework and do any background checks on Sauer, unless they actually did know and hired him for some other politcal motive, rather than the citizens they supposedly represent. Soon most of the department directors either retired or were fired. And, don' forget Sauer was trying to get rid of Tony Wilder, the assistant county manager not long ago. Sauer hires the ex-finance director from Sampson County. Next he gets approval to hire an engineer since he doesnt have engineer experince with public utilities. He hires someone he worked with while Sampson Co manager at $90,000. No raises for employees for the past 3 years, benefits cut and now Sauer wants to do employee furloughs. Sorry, but something here STINKS !

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 17, 2011

    It looks like the budget will be passed with very little changes. So sad.

  • commonsense1911 Jun 17, 2011

    kannr i am aware of that. you misunderstood what I was saying. Regardless of where that money comes from it is being paid for by someone. There are no free rides. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were on the board.

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 17, 2011

    Lillington? Isn't that the home base of Renee Ellmers?

    Ooooh that is mean. Did ya also know that the choice was Bad or Worse. No other, that was it. Yep we got the worse.

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 17, 2011

    kannr,
    Yep very good advice. I can only go by what I read for now. At 149 pages, I'm sure every line item was covered. I'm saying at a time when money is tight, some items could wait and possible they would cost less later on. Video equipement for the Libarey? Listen to what other poster are saying about hours cut, salary cut etc. This is the real world. Like said earlier, it would be easier if we knew what was spent in 2009

  • kannr Jun 17, 2011

    licketysplit28334 -

    The Harnett County Personnel Ordinance is online and public. Feel free to review at your leisure. http://www.harnett.org/prmo/ Harnett County employees are NOT merit based, but grade and time in service. All County employees know this when they are HIRED.

  • unknownone Jun 17, 2011

    People complain so much. You elected the people who hired Scott. Guess what two of those people are going to be there until 2014 being that they were re-elected last year. You have the right to do something about it but you choose not to. You begin to fuss about it when it hits your pocket but after your tantrum you are appeased by some pacifier in the form of a promise or disrtacted by something/somebody else that is trending in the headlines. So I say you have no right to complain until you have made an effort to change the situation. If you are wondering how to make a change start with doing some research and know what rights you have as a citizen of North Carolina. NC Constitution Article I is where I would start for those who don't have the time to do the research. Stop making excuses, stop complaining, stop pointing fingers and work together towards a solution as a community.
    Best of luck to you and your county.

  • licketysplit28334 Jun 17, 2011

    I wanna know who else got raises. My family hasn't had one in about 3 years. I think Sauer should do the gentlemanly thing and donate his raise back to the county. And anyone else that has gotten one that works with harnett county. To me if one employee deserves a raise - all employees deserve a raise. I can't imagine that Sauer works any harder than the other county employees. Go give it up Sauer!

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