Local News

State Budget Woes Inspire Money-Saving Solutions

Posted May 13, 2001

— With a serious budget shortfall looming, state workers are offering their ideas on how to save money. Some of the ideas are so good that state officials may keep using them after the money crunch is over.

"Our employees are our most valuable asset," says Secretary of Administration Gwynn Swinson.

She heads a committee looking at suggestions from state employees on how North Carolina can save money, and jobs. Some ideas already adopted include turning off soda machine lights, saving an estimated $10,000 a year or more.

"Using teleconferencing and conference calls instead of traveling, which we've done in the past [is another way to save and] we are also using double-sided copies."

In Swinson's office, half of the fluorescent lights are removed to save energy.

"We've received over 800 suggestions from state employees all around North Carolina. We're really thrilled. It's the most comprehensive type effort we've ever had," she says.

There are also still areas where money may not have been well spent. The Department of Transportation paid $173,000 to plant flowers near the the U.S. Women's Open golf course.

The D.O.T. says the money it used to pay for the flowers comes from federal funds given to the state annually. Those funds can only be used for landscaping, building new sidewalks, and purchasing rights of way.

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