County takes a hard look at staffing levels

By Hank Lohmeyer

County officials say they are anticipating some hits to revenue streams next year, and they're tightening up on employee hiring.

For example, the Board of County Commissioners during its Feb. 15 meeting reviewed a sheriff's report on the victim advocate position.

The county's victim advocate is retiring after years of service. In keeping with a county policy on hiring, the sheriff's office was asked to submit a justification to the commissioners for continued funding for the job. In some instances, department heads are being asked to submit actual business plans to justify filling vacancies and to examine replatooning staff for replacement positions, Robby LeValley, county administrator, explained.

The policy, explained Le-Valley, is due to anticipated revenue declines. For example, county income from both the federal minerals leasing program and the state minerals severance tax are expected to decline next year. Local municipalities also receive funds from the two sources.

In addition, LeValley said the county will see an approximate $500,000 drop in property tax receipts due to production declines at the Bowie Mine as it deals with adverse issues both underground and in the coal market. Bowie is the only one of the three North Fork mines (two, actually, since closure of Oxbow) that is located in Delta County and which pays property taxes here.