Jefferson County asks its workers to cut hours in light of impending ‘budget challenge’

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County’s 320 employees are being offered the option of voluntarily cutting four hours from their work week because of a “budget challenge.”

Interim county Administrator Dennis Richards said on the eve of the Labor Day weekend that between eight and 10 staff openings have been left unfilled, and more positions may have to remain open, at least until the 2009 budget is balanced.

Department heads have been asked to each cut $100,000 from their budgets, said Richards, calling it a “pretty serious whack.”

“These steps are just the beginning chapter in a tough 2009 budget challenge,” Richards said in a written statement released Thursday.

“Citizens of the county will no doubt see other cutbacks while we make attempts to balance the budget.”

Richards said he had no specific figures showing the shortfall, but that the general trend is that revenues are down while expenses are climbing.

Allen Sartin, county finance director, was not available on Thursday. Neither were any of the three Jefferson County Commissioners.

The budget crunch, Richards said, is the result of higher costs of fuel, asphalt and transportation; lower revenues from sales, excise and real estate taxes; a loss of tax revenue caused by a slow housing construction market; diminishing federal grant funds and Secured Rural School funding losses.

“As Jefferson County elected officials and departments prepare for the 2009 budget process, they clearly recognize the nationwide recession has greatly impacted the budgets of this county,” Richards said in the statement.

Up to five employees in county Public Health already have voluntarily cut their hours to 36 a week, said Richards, an act that preserves their benefits.

The county is not filling vacant staff positions, is limiting training and travel to only that which is mandatory, asking employees to voluntarily work four nine-hour days a week and restrict driving of county vehicles whenever possible.

Richards is also calling for staff to work together to share resources.

Richards said the county would not know how many county employees would be needed to pare back their hours until the county commissioners and department heads try to balance the budget.

More in News

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)
Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option

Olympic Medical Center chief outlines efforts at improvements

Decreased number of travelers among them

Jay and Trudi Inslee wear red for #WearRedDay to support women’s heart health in 2022. (Jay Inslee)
Gov. Inslee reflects in his final year of three terms

On the second level of the white and gray marbled… Continue reading

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer as coworker Robert Bufford prepares to secure the load as the pair prepares to open the parking lot at Port Angeles City Pier to automobiles on Friday. The work was part of a project to improve storm drainage, replace damaged sidewalks and ADA ramps and mitigate shoreline erosion around the lot, which had been closed since early January. Tree replacement and other project detail work is expected to follow over the next few weeks.
City Pier parking open

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer… Continue reading

Sequim Citizen of the Year luncheon on Tuesday

Emiko Brock, Labbe, Olsen to be honored

EYE ON THE PENINSULA: Broadband, public health before county boards

Government meetings across North Olympic Peninsula

A pair of Clallam Transit buses sit at The Gateway Transit Center in Port Angeles in preparation for their fixed-route runs on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Clallam Transit sees large rise in ridership

No issues seen with new zero-fare policy

Plans move ahead for Quilcene skate park

Jefferson County, volunteers seek grants

Peninsula College Foundation reports record levels of giving

Programs, students both recipients of funds

County to repave section of Carlsborg Road

Clallam County commissioners will consider awarding a contract for… Continue reading

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail and the entrance to the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot on Wednesday as part of a project to improve sidewalks and storm water drainage around the site. The project is expected to be substantially completed and the parking lot reopened by mid-March. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles City Pier

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail… Continue reading