Warrick County dealing with financial crisis while balancing bud - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Warrick County dealing with 'financial crisis' while balancing budget

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Warrick County officials are dealing with what they call a financial crisis to balance the budget.

They're saying this is the first time in three decades they may have to consider layoffs.

The county says they have been facing a $900,000 deficit for the past three or four years, and it's finally catching up to them.

County Council Vice President, Greg Richmond, says the state is setting unfunded mandates, allowing the county to collect less revenue from the residents.

Less money coming in means less money can go out, in the form of paychecks.

"The county is a financial crunch right now because there's not enough money to pay the bills," says Dixie Dugan, the Warrick County Auditor.

Revenues have been declining since 2009.

The county had a $1.2-million shortfall in 2011 and is expected to be $1-million in the hole this year.

County Council President Greg Richmond says he hopes the layoffs will be absorbed by retirements, like the HR Director, who will leave in less than a month.

Her responsibilities could fall to the auditor, but Dixie says they can't shoulder the load.

"If they ask me, I'm going to say no and if I'm not given the choice then I don't know where we go," says Dugan. "But I'm going to do my best, but we don't have anyone qualified to do it."

Dixie says he hopes the council can come up with other solutions than losing employees.

"Maybe reducing the requirement for some of the workforce," says Dugan. "Something other than terminating another 15 people and that's the figure that I hear."

Council members say the figure could be closer to five employees, but several county offices say they're already trying to identify the one employee they'd have to layoff.

Dixie isn't saying he has all the solutions to the budget deficit, but he has a suggestion.

"I think the county council is playing with a political football and letting a few egos get in the way of what I think would be the best for the county," says Dugan.

The next county council meeting, which is open to the public, is Wednesday evening at 5:00.

Officials say they'll be better able to answer questions about where the cuts will come from during that meeting.

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