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Published July 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

Clay County furloughs looking more likely

As Clay County refines its budget outlook for 2010, mandatory work furloughs for employees are looking more and more likely, County Administrator Vijay Sethi said Tuesday.

By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

As Clay County refines its budget outlook for 2010, mandatory work furloughs for employees are looking more and more likely, County Administrator Vijay Sethi said Tuesday.

“We may not have any choice,” Sethi told county commissioners, adding that other steps also may be necessary to address what is shaping into a $1.2 million shortfall for 2010.

Meanwhile, Clay County Planner Tim Magnusson told commissioners he will soon submit an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking funds to buy seven homes substantially damaged in the spring flood.

He said based on damage and location, the homes and possibly an eighth property stand the best chance of receiving funds.

Subsequent applications may be made if additional sources of money become available, said Magnusson, who said more than four dozen homeowners in the county expressed interest in buyouts after the flood.

On the subject of furloughs, Sethi said if the county’s 216 non-union employees took off eight hours each month it would save approximately $540,000 a year.

He said additional savings of about $363,000 could be realized if the county’s 146 union workers agree to furloughs, though he stressed that county officials have yet to talk with union officials about such an option.

Sethi presented the commission with updated budget numbers showing the county would need to boost its levy by about $2.5 million to make up for cuts in state aid and to cover higher costs for things like step pay increases.

He said state-imposed levy caps would permit the county to boost its levy by only 0.86 percent, reflecting a potential revenue increase of $192,760.

That amount could grow somewhat, based on a formula that takes into account the number of any new households in the county and growth in the valuation of commercial and industrial property as a result of new construction.

Even after factoring in potential new revenues from things like levy increases, Sethi estimated the county will have to make $1.2 million worth of additional cuts.

In addition to the possibility of mandatory furloughs, he said potential savings could result from the county continuing to refrain from filling new positions.

Another cost-saving step might be to eliminate positions when vacancies occur, said Sethi, who also suggested to the commission that Clay County continue to offer employees the option of voluntary early retirement in 2010.

Three people applied for early retirement when it was offered earlier this summer.

Clay homeowners apply for buyouts

This is a list of homeowners in Clay County who will be part of an application for buyouts after this spring’s flooding. The list, provided by the county, lists properties as follows: homeowner, address, city and the estimated acquisition value:

1. Lars Odegaard, 985 160th Ave. N., Georgetown, $95,810.

2. Stephen and Cheryl Landsem, 7753 3rd St. S., Moorhead, $194,920.

3. Kenneth and Sylvia Anderson, 6343 7th St. S.W., Moorhead, $268,400.

4. Lawrence and Vivian Weseloh, 7755 3rd St. S., Moorhead, $194,920.

5. Galen and Sharon Vaa, 6273 7th St. S.W., Moorhead, $319,660.

6. Kelly Kukowski, 20677 15 St. N.W., Georgetown, $127,600.

7. Barry and Lori Oberg, 3690 80th St. N., Glyndon, $267,080.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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