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Greene County Departments Facing Budget Cuts as Year Ends

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Many Greene County departments will be impacted by budget cuts as we head toward the new year.
GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Layoffs look likely for Greene County workers as the new year approaches.

The County Budget Director met with department heads and office holders this morning to tell them to cut ten percent of their budgets.

The county budget has already been cut by over $1,000,000 but county commissioners say revenue is just not keeping up with the cost required to efficiently run the county government.

After the "Use Tax" failed this month, Greene County continues to struggle.  It has stretched its dollars as much as possible. 

Now, whether it's laying people off or reducing their salaries, nearly 30 county workers will be impacted.

"The Prosecuting Attorney told us he believes his reductions would be five positions," says County Commissioner Harold Bengsch.  "There are part-time positions in some departments and others are full time positions.  I believe there are 27 new positions and of those, three are part time and the rest full time."

Commissioner Bengsch says there would be a reduction in the Planning and Zoning Department.  He says the county would likely have to eliminate inspections for things like trash and weeds.

In the Information Department, there would be a decline in the level of technical services provided to the county.

"These cuts are really scraping the bone," says Bengsch.  "And causing concern for the commission and our ability to continue the level of services our clients and citizens are accustomed to and deserve."

Bengsch says the County Administrator, Budget Officer and Purchasing Director have all agreed to salary reductions.

"Greene County has some of the most dedicated and hard working employees," Bengsch says.  "And it's heart-wrenching to see them going through what they are going through right now."

With new mandates from federal and state governments and increased spending requirements, the county is trying to find ways to continue to meet the needs of Greene County residents.

"It's hard to be feeling so powerless," Bengsch says.  "But if the money isn't there, it isn't there.  And the request for services is growing.  Right now we are trying to figure out how to respond to the needs and services our citizens deserve and expect with the funds we have available."

The county eliminated Animal Control last year which Bengsch says has had a major impact.  There was also a reduction in services from the University of Missouri Extension.

County workers have not had any pay increases in six years and Bengsch says that's making the county a less competitive employer.

The proposed cuts would take effect on January 1.
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