Washington Co. Residents Face Possible Job Cuts, Millage Rate Increase

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CHIPLEY Washington County Commissioners have been looking at a budget deficit they've finally had to address.

Board Chairman, Alan T. Bush explained, "we're looking at probably, let's just say there's an $800,000 difference between what's coming in and what we have to pay."

The current 8.9195 millage rate would still leave the county about $100,000 short.

"That already includes some job cuts, and it would mean more" Depute Clerk, Risha Brantley said.

With millions of dollars in flood damages, some commissioners were fighting to keep as many employees as they could.

"You have no idea what's fixing to take place at roads and bridge. It's going to be major" Commissioner Charles Brock said. Bush added, "you can't just take the same group and whittle away with them. We're just crippling ourselves."

Commissioners considered raising the millage rate to 9.23 in an effort to to salvage some of the jobs.

"I've got what the millage was from 1976 to 2011 and the majority of the years were 10's. There weren't many years lower than what we're proposing now" Bush said.

But some believed the county could stand more cuts.

"I want to know that our employees are doing the best they can" Commissioner, Lynn Gothard said. "That we have the right employees in the right positions and that we're using them efficiently. If over this next year as a commissioner, I can look at this paper work and say we're just as bare bones and efficient as we can be, next year- I won't have any problem raising the millage. I'm just not convinced of that yet ."

Commissioners scheduled a budget workshop for 9:00 AM Monday and planned to vote on a millage increase Wednesday.

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