Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

SHARING THE PAIN

John Q. Citizen is finding his access to county services altered. On June 4, Nicollet County instituted a shortened work-week. The Government Center and all other county offices closed at 3 pm on Friday and will be closed every Friday at 3 until the end of September. This was done in an effort to save taxpayer dollars in light of budget reductions from the State of Minnesota. Employees working four hours less each pay period during this time will save approximately $140,000 for the taxpayers. Voluntary furloughs will be offered after this time period. The Board of Commissioners did not make this decision easily, but decided this was the best way to save lost dollars and to avoid having to lay off staff. The courts and their employees located at the government center have not changed their hours. They are state employees.

Other measures have been in place for almost 18 months. As employees have left Nicollet County, supervisors have had to go through a rigorous process to justify hiring a replacement. At the present time, the following positions are not being filled: engineering specialist, water quality program director, bailiff, and part time 911 dispatcher.

This is the beginning of reduction of services. Counties, cities, and schools will probably be implementing even more onerous budget cuts which will mean decreased services in the future. end

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