Local Politics

Wake County could eliminate 100 positions

Posted April 13, 2009 6:11 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2009 9:47 p.m. EDT

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— Wake County's manager has proposed eliminating 100 positions from the county's work force and reducing some departmental budgets by more than 10 percent.

Wake County Manager David Cooke said Monday this county is now facing a nearly $20 million budget shortfall because of lower-than-projected tax revenue.



The eliminated positions would mean an estimated savings of $3 million, Cook said.

"We don't think it's a one-year event. We know that permits haven't picked back up," he said. "We're going to be in this for a little bit of time. These cuts are sustainable."

There are about 250 vacant positions within the county, but that does not necessarily mean there won't be layoffs, said County Commission Chair Harold Webb.

"Layoffs are not off the table here as we look at the budget," he said. "It's good that we have some vacancies. If we have to lay any off, we would not have to lay off as many."

Cooke said in addition to possible layoffs, there could be job shifts within departments. For example, if six positions in a department were to be eliminated, and four were vacant, employees in the two filled positions could be given the option to take severance or if qualified, take another open position elsewhere.

Cooke said he is also proposing a salary freeze and cutting certain department budgets by more than 10 percent. All county departments have already been asked to trim their budgets by 4 percent and plan for cuts as much as 10 percent.

Those that have seen workloads decrease because of the housing slump could be hit the hardest, Cooke said.

But commissioners said raising taxes is not an option.

"We are not going to raise the property tax rate this year. We're only going to spend the money that's available to us," Commissioner Tony Gurley said.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners must approve Cooke's proposal. The final version of next year's budget will be presented to the public in about a month.