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Clallam prelimnary budget half a million dollars short

September 11th, 2013 - 6:01am

(Port Angeles) -- Clallam County's preliminary budget for next year is half a million dollars in the red. But the budget released yesterday is the starting point for county commissioners.

County Administrator Jim Jones, Junior unveiled the so-called "roll-up" budget Tuesday morning.

"We anticipate less revenues next year than this year by about 900,000 less. There will be less expenditures than this year because primarily of contract collections that we for services going to do, and we have about a half-million dollar deficit that we have to figure out how we're going to make up," said Jones.

Jones said costs for personnel are the biggest part of the budget, and that's where they'll try to make up the deficit.

"Obviously, we're trying to negotiate deals with our unions that would reduce our expenses a little bit and we're looking to operate as efficient as we possibly can by looking for services that we can decide to no longer offer. The biggest way to do that is to reduce the number of hours that we're open and therefore the overall cost that we would would have for personnel which is almost three quarters of the budget," said Jones.

Jones said the 2014 budget might not include furlough days. Those have resulted on shutting down most of county government for 16 Mondays each of the last two years.

"At this point in this budget, there are no furloughs because that agreement goes away on December 31. That's why we're reducing the hours that we're open to 37 and a half hours a week," said Jones.

Jones said this initial budget may not be recognizable in December, but it has most of the necessary components:

"It's the place we start to building the final budget. What I will tell you is that it does have all the contractual requirements for next year, it's got all the staffing in it, and it's got our best estimate of revenues. Very infrequently does the revenue change but quite often expenditures change before we get to the final budget," said Jones.

And Jones said a huge factor in the final budget may depend on contract negotiations with its unions:

"It could be a huge factor or could be no factor at all. This is the first time all eight unions' contracts expire at the same time on December 31," said Jones. "This budget assumes that we come no agreement and not because of any pessimistic reason, but just because I have to make some assumptions. So I am assuming that we no agreements with anybody and we're just gonna continue the agreements that we currently have for the following year."

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