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Staff reductions, furlough days have New Hanover County residents paying

READ MORE: Staff reductions, furlough days have New Hanover County residents paying
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To help meet a $21 million budget shortfall, New Hanover County offered employees early retirement, laid others off, and issued mandatory furlough days. While the cuts helped balance the budget, county residents might still end up '”paying”. “On one hand you save money because people are not coming to work, but what you've done is you've reduced your workforce by 4 percent,” explained New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield. The New Hanover County government has seen significant staff reductions, in order to meet budget shortfalls. While the budget remains balanced, the cuts have placed added pressure on remaining employees. Director of Development Services Tony Roberts said, “It raises stress levels a little bit, in trying to accomplish our goals.” This year, the county required ten unpaid days off for each employee. To try and maintain services, the county combined several departments. “911 services and emergency management services now work under one director, that's been merged into a single department,” explained Director of Human Resources and Community Relations Dennis Inhat. “Planning and inspections are now under one department head.” The economy eased the pressure on some of the mergers, but caused extra stress for other departments. “The human needs or the human services portion of county government are hardest hit with demand from the public, but they have lost quite a few people working in their departments,” added Barfield. For county residents, it can mean longer wait times for services they desperately need. Barfield said the county has trimmed all it's fat, but will again face a shortfall in next year's budget. “I don't see any way around our next budget cycle not having some type of a tax increase one way or the other.” Leaving voters to decide whether to cut more services, or pay more for the ones they already have. Barfield said the county will probably need both a sales tax increase and a property tax increase to avoid future service cuts or lay-offs, but voters would have to approve those increases first. Commissioner Barfield spoke very candidly about the state of the county's financial situation. You can view the unedited interview here.

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Let's begin with the

Let's begin with the wonderful raise that was given to Mr. Billy Williams at the ABC store. This is a man, that was given a $50,000.00 raise for goodness sake. This is more than some people make and sometimes more than a household brings in.This is a "county employee" or not. If so, why isn't he made to take furlogh like everyone else. Of course the county commisioners or the people that put him there will turn their head again. Wake up!! I wonder how much if any did this man donate to needy causes. Hey, you can take this off on taxes and you get another bonus ( right) How can you live with yourself when so many people are without jobs. Have a heart There are people that puts their lives on the line all day that don't get half of what your bonus was.

abc

State employee. Either way, he is way overpaid, has great benefits and will retire with same.

If anyone wants an example of what's wrong with this country

Take the time to listen to the interview with Barfield. My favorite line was "If you make X, then you're going to spend pretty close to X." This man never heard of savings? The entire interview is a case for higher taxes to make sure that we are still carrying the worthless slugs who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives. Let's hope the citizens of this county are smart enough to say, "NO!"

taxes will need to be raised

For two years now the county commissioners have balanced the budget on the backs of county employees. We have had to take three weeks off without pay and a reduction in our benefits. We did so and sacraficed. What now other than have all citizens beside county employees assist in balancing the New Hanover county budget. Fact is folks that this problem will not goaway until they generate more money. We are headed for about a $40.00 a year increase in our property taxes.

How about cutting spending, instead?

This county STILL blows money at an amazing rate on all sorts of frills that we could live without. Take a look at the budget and see how much we spend on the Soccerplex....the Cameron Art Museum....the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.... In times of tight money, those kinds of non-essential expenditures have to disappear, and they had BETTER vanish before they come, hat-in-hand to the voters.

SURE

there IS a way around a tax increase...STOP SPENDING MONEY FRIVOLOUSLY! Stop providing service to those who DON'T BELONG HERE to begin with...THAT in itself would be a HUGE start!

And this shortfall comes

And this shortfall comes before NHC conducts a property revaluation that is sure to show property in the county is overvalued due to the sales boom just before the last valuation. Property values are way down now. Better tighten up the budget now!

exactly right!

The last brick in the falling wall of our economy will be the continued "socialization of loss" whereby they will HAVE to devalue local real estate values, but will increase the tax rate to stay revenue neutral (or even current revenue plus 5% or 6%). Can anyone comment on a recent appraisal of property? My experience is that home values are down 30% or more. Don't try to get a loan or refinance either. Certainly don't try to buy land. If the local government was a small business, they would be cutting staff and streamlining operations to maintain a profit margin. News Flash: not all private small business employees get lifetime pensions or health benefits... those are simply not sustainable with a growing population of longer living retirees. (Who could and should volunteer their services to alleviate a shortage of salaried government workers who get laid off). As households across the county cut their budgets, cut cable, reduce Christmas spending, and stop eating out, there will be reduced sales and use taxes flowing in to the local governments. Less out of towners travelling=less hotel and restaurant revenues. Hotel taxes fund beach renourishment. At least the ABC stores are doing well. Must be all the advertising and shrewd management. It's a big mess, and I hope our elected officials are anticipating rather than reacting.