The adopted $115.5 million budget included four furlough days for county employees — a savings of $1.1 million — which Commissioner Reid Bowman said he was adamant against, and has been throughout the budgeting process.
“I’ve been steadfast in the furlough situation,” he said. “This is not something I just came up with.”
Two motions to adopt the budget died without a second, which led the commissioners to discuss holding off on adopting the budget, as state law mandates budgets do not need to be adopted until June 30.
However, the commission has a county ordinance that requires the budget to be adopted by May 31, which County Manager Fred Auletta said was put in place to keep the county from waiting until the last minute to put together a budget.
The other option would be to adopt the budget at $115.5 million, and revise in July to take out the four furlough days and find another $1.1 million in the budget to cut, Finance Director Mike Bush said. Otherwise, the county would have to change the budget to $116.6 million to include the $1.1 million added back by eliminating the furlough days, readvertise it to the public and have another public hearing, all while violating its own ordinance.
The commissioners, hesitant to violate the ordinance, recessed for 30 minutes to discuss the budget with Bush and Auletta, after which they came back in session and adopted it at $115.5 million.
Though the motion to adopt the budget did not include any addendums to revisit the issue of furlough days, Chairman Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis said after the meeting that the commissioners would take a look at the budget in July in hopes of eliminating the furloughs.