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Cumberland County Leaders Work To Fund Services Despite Tight Budget

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Cumberland County leaders are trying to find a way to fund necessary services without a tax hike.

Due to the budget cuts, the main branch of theCumberland County Librarydoes not open until noon, which upsets patron Eva Ryals.

"I was disappointed, I use the library and the computers for resources for my job," she says.

The cuts could go deeper. Cumberland County projects a $30 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. Commissioners do not want to raise property taxes and have directed the county manager to prepare a budget without a tax hike.

"I would say there are very few things that will not be under serious consideration for reductions," says county manager James Martin.

The situation concerns many county department heads. Health Director Janet Lindbloom was forced to cut $700,000 from her budget last year. She says further cuts could mean fewer services.

"My biggest concern is we meet all the needs of the community. It may not be eight hours a day, five days a week, like we are doing," she says. While most taxpayers says they do not want a tax increase, some are willing to pay more to keep services up and running.

"If I had my choice, I'd like to see them reduced. If it were to help the community, yeah, sure." -->

Martin says cutting county jobs will be considered, but only as a last resort. One idea is to delay the January opening of the new Cumberland County Jail.

Martin says he does not plan to close any departments, but he met with all department heads Monday to discuss the situation.