Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Warrick County Freezes Hiring ; Roadwork May Hit a Bump

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Warrick County Freezes Hiring ; Roadwork May Hit a Bump

Article excerpt

Warrick County Council members say they're doing everything they can to avoid laying off employees, even though funds are running far too low for comfort. And the outlook isn't much better for 2013. "We are trying to keep everybody working," Council President Gary Meyer said. "The council was not willing to use operating balance money or rainy day fund money to make it through the end of the year. All that would do is give us a bigger problem next year. So we've taken some drastic steps, and we think we're going to have a positive balance at the end of the year."

In a unanimous vote earlier this month, the council told officeholders they could no longer fill vacancies left by former employees without council consent. Council members said they understand the new ordinance might upset some officeholders, but insist it was necessary.

"What we are concerned about is just the money," Meyer said. "We are not trying to micromanage or tell the officeholders who they can hire. I know that was the rumor that got around, but we are not doing that. We just want to be able to give the OK to spend the money to hire somebody."

The hiring freeze is set to expire at the end of 2013. Some employees could be hired in the next 15 months, but only if the council feels filling the position is absolutely necessary.

"Some of our biggest costs are employee costs," council member Joe Schitter said, "whether that is salary costs or the benefits that go along with it. We did not want to lay anybody off. And I am not saying we won't allow employees to be replaced. But this gives us another set of eyes to look at it, and gives us the possibility that maybe some positions can be eliminated through attrition."

While all departments are feeling the budget pinch, the county highway department may not have enough money to get through the end of the year. The council did appropriate an additional $20,000 from the highway fund and $35,000 more from Economic Development Income Tax funds, but Meyer fears money will be spent quickly.

The highway department had received an additional $500,000 this year from the county's share of funds refunded due to a programming error at the Indiana

Department of Revenue. …

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