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Travis County Commissioners back hiring freeze
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 by Jacob Cottingham
On Tuesday, the
Rodney Rhoades, Director of the Planning and Budgeting Office, told In Fact Daily that the county does not believe it has the authority to require elected officials to freeze their hiring. Rhoades said the PBO is “working on a reporting process that we will give to the commissioners court either bi-weekly or weekly. It will give them an update on which positions are currently vacant and those positions that have been filled since the request went out.” This process will allow the court to monitor departmental behavior. The Sheriff’s Department has been operating under a hiring freeze since May 20.
The FY09 budget also takes into account $4.6 million in budget cuts from all county departments – who were required to shave 5 percent off of this year’s spending. All of those cuts amounted to $19 million. PBO opted not to take the entirety of those cuts.
Perhaps the largest factor impacting the FY10 budget is the projections for 2011. Rhoades said $4 million was being set aside in 2010 as an “Economic Downturn Reserve,” which should help alleviate a steep drop off in property taxes. Rhoades said he expects $2.8 billion of new construction in 2010, while 2011 may have $1.8 billion. “We are anticipating about a $10 million revenue decrease before we even get started with the budget process,” Rhoades told In Fact Daily.
Rhoades said the budget reflects the priorities set out by the commissioners to minimize the loss of services or jobs. He conceded that
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