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Housing slump could mean layoffs for Fuquay-Varina

The town depends on revenue from construction permits and inspections. Slowed construction means fewer dollars coming into city coffers.

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FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. — The town manager of Fuquay-Varina said Tuesday that housing woes are forcing him to consider lay-offs.

The town depends on revenue from construction permits and inspections. Since construction has slowed because of the weak economy, Town Manager Andy Hedrick said the town will see fewer permits issued, and less money flowing to city coffers.

"I think reduction in force is one of the things we look at," Hedrick said Tuesday. "The thing that I fear is that it will be coming sooner (rather than) than later."

Two years ago, Fuquay-Varina issued about 800 permits for new homes. "At the pace that we're on, we'll be lucky to do 250 homes in 2009," Hedrick said.

"Where we had budgeted close to $800,000 this year, we will probably collect less than $400,000 when it's all said and done," Hedrick said.

Although he has not made a decision, Hedrick said extra employees hired to handle the housing boom two years ago could be affected by his decision. He plans to make a decision in the next few weeks, he said.

The housing slump has taken a toll on other Wake County governments, as well. In 2006, more than 11,000 building permits were issued. That number dropped to about 10,100 a year later.

Last year, the number was nearly cut in half, with 5,200 permits issued.