Sedgwick County working on cutting some open positions

06/04/2012 5:00 AM

06/04/2012 5:10 PM

Eliminating some open staff positions sooner rather than later may help Sedgwick County close its budget gap, its manager says.

Manager William Buchanan plans to talk to commissioners Wednesday about cutting some open jobs this year instead of waiting until next as the county tries to trim $9.3 million from its 2013 budget.

The county has been dipping into its reserves because of declining revenue in a down economy. The county is pulling in less in property tax revenue because valuations are down slightly.

Buchanan said Monday that at any given time, the county has about 75 to 100 open positions out of its roughly 2,700-person workforce.

Not all the open positions will be cut, he said. “Some will be filled.”

The county already trimmed its staff with a voluntary early retirement program, which 120 people accepted last year.

Buchanan has pushed staff to do “less with less” as the county tries to get to a zero deficit by the end of next year.

The manager said last month that the county could get to its zero-deficit goal by eliminating 160 jobs. But that kind of wholesale approach doesn’t make sense, he told commissioners.

Buchanan said Monday that he was still working on the number of open positions to eliminate.

Commissioner Dave Unruh said he thought it likely would make sense to not wait to “eliminate positions that are almost certainly going to be gone next year. It clears the deck and stages the stage for some difficult decisions.”

Buchanan’s recommended budget will go to commissioners July 18. Public hearings are set for 9 a.m. July 25 and Aug. 14 in the commission chambers on the third floor of the courthouse, 525 N. Main. The county is slated to set next year’s budget during the commission’s Aug. 15 meeting at 9 a.m.

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