Commissioners set out budget cuts

The equivalent of at least 22 positions will be eliminated under the Island County commissioners’ finalized list of $2 million in budget reductions.

The cuts in jobs includes the reductions in some workers’ hours and furlough days, though it looks like nearly two dozen full-time and part-time employees may lose their jobs.

The planning department will lose the most people, with six full-time and one half-year employees facing layoffs.

The cuts in the general fund will be the second round of layoffs for the county this year.

The commissioners carved $2 million out of the fund last December, which amounted to the loss of 31 positions.

Monday, the commissioners approved the finalized list of reductions without making changes from what they discussed during grueling meetings last week.

The cuts are for the 2010 budget, but they will go into effect this year.

The county will use up to $1.5 million in reserves to get through the end of this year.

Commissioner Angie Homola argued in favor of a furlough day on the day before Christmas to save some money, but the other two commissioners felt it wouldn’t work for a small, understaffed county.

“I’m struggling with what happened to parks,” Homola said, pointing to the 37-percent cut the department is facing.

It’s the largest percentage reduction of any department.

“The budget reflects our priorities,” Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said. “But the general fund is only part of the picture.”

The only revenue increase in the budget comes from a hike in land-use fees, which will bring in an estimated $10,000 extra a year.

The last day for laid-off workers will be May 29.

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