JACKSON – There will be no reduction in force in Northampton County government after all.
On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners voted not to follow through with a reduction in force of five positions as required by this fiscal year’s budget.
Prior to the commissioners’ decision, County Finance Officer Dot Vick presented a financial report that revealed the county was currently $159,000 to the good than last year. The layoffs were expected to save the county approximately $153,000.
“I’m asking the board to authorize Ms. Vick and myself not to implement the expected reduction in force paln we had to adopt during budget (process),” said County Manager Wayne Jenkins.
Commissioner Joseph Barrett moved that the board not adopt the proposed the reduction in force. Commissioner Chester Deloatch offered a second and the motion carried without objection.
Attorney Charles Vaughan questioned if this action would require an amendment to the county’s budget.
Jenkins said it does require an amendment to the budget ordinance and the commissioners’ action began the process of bringing the amendment forward.
Jenkins said it all came about because the county’s financial position could not be “100 percent accurately forecast as of on June 30th.”
“In March, April and May, Ms. Vick was trying to predict revenues and expenditures from March through June 30th,” said Jenkins. “If you remember in February, when our auditor was still here, he shared with you that he expected to lose $500,000 to $600,000 of our fund balance that we appropriated.”
Jenkins said Vick’s best forecast at the time was $200,000 or less.
“So we tightened the purse strings from mid-year review through June 30th, but we didn’t know because they weren’t absolute when you had to adopt your budget,” he said. “So we had to put provisions in place that did provide you absolute and adopted your budget and settled your tax rate.”