Government workers in Franklin County will remain employed for the time being.
Franklin County Council members have been exploring options to recover finances to meet the 2014 county budget. They have redirected funding from various departments to the General Fund and considered job cuts and a future tax increase, however, still face a substantial deficit possibly as large as a half million dollars.
The Franklin County Observer reported that Councilwoman Becky Oglesby made a motion at a recent meeting to hold off on any employee lay-offs until August. It was a narrow victory for supporters, as council voted 4-3 in favor.
The delay will allow officials to reconsider cutting jobs after reviewing the budget later in the year.
“I’d say August is a critical time in our financial status as to where we are at,” Oglesby stated. “Because, if the money is drained faster than anticipated then we’ll probably have to lay off jobs.”
Council also approved redistributing the county’s monthly health insurance payment of $96,208 to assist in filling the budget gap. Franklin County has been self insured since 1998, the Observer reported.
While jobs remain safe until August, a future increase in taxes are possible.
“We do have the lowest tax rates probably in the state for a county our size, so to me it makes sense,” Oglesby said. “I really do think that if we fix our tax rate to come up gradually, that we should be able to solve this problem without any other taxes being put in place, but that’s my opinion.”
Oglesby noted that it could take a few years to fix the budget and if taxes are raised, it will not be a major hike.