Polk County may cut 77 jobs because of budget concerns

07/08/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Like other counties in the state, Polk County is facing severe revenue shortfalls. Yesterday, County Manager Mike Herr presented a recommended budget that calls for eliminating 77 positions and reorganizing some departments in order to bridge a ten million dollar budget gap. Randy Wilkinson is a Polk County Commissioner. “We’re slicing some programs and we’ll find the money.”

Commissioner Wilkinson is a candidate for the U.S. Congress District 12 seat being vacated by Adam Putnam.

The county manager’s proposal calls for all county workers to take five unpaid days off. That would save $500,000, Wilkinson says, but he has an alternative proposal that would save that amount or more.

County Manager Mike Herr says he has not yet verified the fiscal impact of Wilkinson’s alternative to furloughs.

Herr says that a lot of the savings he proposed on Tuesday comes from reorganization of divisions and departments.

Nearly half of the 54 employees of Polk County’s Healthy Families Division are slated for layoffs. Marcia Andresen is their director.

“Healthy Families works with families prenatally and after the birth of their baby up to five years providing home visiting service to encourage parent-child activities and positive childhood outcomes and reducing poor childhood outcomes such as abuse and neglect.”

Because of the 24 positions that are projected to be eliminated, Andresen says the reduced staff will need to tell 350 Polk County families that they will no longer be able to receive services.

“There really isn’t a program that’s geared towards what we do. We work with families that are under stress. And during these difficult economic times, it’s even more critical, I think, that we have programs to work with families to help reduce their stress load and link them with resources in the community that could be helpful. So while there are some programs, there aren’t specific home visiting programs that do what we do. … So we’re just hopeful that maybe some of the money will be restored and we’ll be able to see more of the families. We’re hopeful that might happen.”

The final fiscal year 2009-2010 budget for Polk will be adopted by the County Commission on September 10th.

Polk County Healthy Families Division

Polk County Leisure Services Division

Polk County Commissioner Randy Wilkinson

comments powered by Disqus