The Clark County Council passed a measure on Monday requesting that departments report by Friday how they will stay within their budgets for the remainder of the year.
“People are going to have to make some tough decisions right now and, as the county council, we’re trying to prod them along,” said Council President Kevin Vissing.
While some departments have accepted furloughs, that still won’t be enough to close the county’s $1.2 million dollar deficit, he said.
“By Friday we want them to submit their plan on how they’re going to end out the year zeroing out their budget, not coming out behind. In other words, what are they going to cut, how are they going to get there. That was basically the unanimous vote,” Vissing said.
Responsibility for how to deal with the deficit has been passed from one area of county government to the next. It began with a letter from county attorney Greg Fifer who sent an internal memo requesting county commissioners to deny any request to pay claims or payroll because the county could no longer pay for its debt.
After the commissioners deferred to the council, the council then deferred to the individual departments. The council only allocates the county budget and it cannot force departments to stay within their means.
But certain county departments have state mandates to remain open, which will further increase the county deficit. Other departments must do what’s necessary to prevent default, said Vissing, including additional furloughs, shorter work hours and possible layoffs.