Commissioners enact county hiring freeze

The Marion County Board of Commissioners Wednesday, Sept. 30, instituted a county hiring freeze because of the bad economy.

The commissioners voted 3-0 that department heads no longer will be allowed to hire new employees automatically to replace persons who retire or quit without direct evaluation by the commissioners.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the decision includes hiring ?from the interior, the exterior and on-coming.?

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said with the economic outlook, ?We need to tighten our belts big-time. We have to squeeze every dime we can. Maybe we won?t have to a year from now, but that?s the case now.

?We aren?t going to do lay-offs, and this is a way to avoid doing them. We need to look at more options like replacing full-time positions with one or two part-time positions.?

Dallke said, ?We need to study the why and wherefore to see if a job is necessary.?

In making the second for the motion, Commissioner Bob Hein noted it would take only one more thing, like the state taking away money expected by counties in its own budget tightening, or another big rise in fuel prices, to throw the county into a crisis.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said the county received $49,240 from the state for sales generated in July, collected in August, and dispersed in September. Year to date, the county is $25,854 over the tax total at this time last year.

Maggard said a part of this is due to compensating tax rather than locally generated sales tax. The compensating tax comes from money spent by county residents out-of-county, such as for new cars or that portion reported on Internet sales.

In 2008, compensating tax totaled $60,475 for the year compared to $515,752 in tax generated within the county, she said.

For 2009 to date, the compensating tax is $48,817 and the locally generated is $401,873.

Sometimes the sales taxes enable the commissioners to be more flexible, such as in this meeting where they decided to take $10,000 from sales taxes for grant matching.

Maggard said the county has a balance of $18,357 in funds encumbered from last year for departmental purchases.

The commissioners directed Road and Bridge Superintendent John Summerville to fill in and patch some roads at Marion County Lake to assure residents they will be able to travel during the winter with special attention to Hill Road and Rock Road.

They authorized him to check for help from a local resident with a tractor and loader so that county crews might be able to stay on present jobs. Summer?ville said the department is chronically short-handed.

He said roads at the lake, and in particular Hill Road, can?t be truly corrected until they are crowned and have ditches put in for proper drainage.

The commissioners said they have several applicants for Summerville?s position, which he had agreed to fill on a temporary basis.

The commissioners approved a bid of $16,328 from Cardie Oil of Tampa for road and bridge transport fuel, including 5,500 gallons of diesel and 2,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline. Cooperative Grain & Supply, Hillsboro, had submitted a competitive bid of $16,347.

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