Thirteen county employees were given the option for early retirement with an incentive of receiving 25 percent of their salary.
“We’re not making anyone retire,” County Administrator Steve Bradley said. “The county will save about 75 percent from their salaries.”
Bradley noted that declining revenues have placed pressure on county departments, forcing the commissioner’s office to request a 1 percent budget cut from each department to prepare the county’s overall budget for 2012. The possibility of this employee loss affecting services is not a major fear at this time.
“So far it hasn’t affected services,” Brown said. “It might could slow some things down.”
Bradley also said that the lack of revenue, unfortunately, means that these now vacant positions will not be filled in the near future, but part-time help may be an option to ease the struggle on the departments.
Departments that have lost an employee due to early retirement are: tax assessor, water, information services, clerk of Superior Court, road, recreation and tax commissioner.
Even though the current situation is bleak, Bradley said the future is optimistic.
“We didn’t see the sales tax increase we were expecting and property values have bottomed out,” Bradley said. “Revenues are always a concern, but we’re optimistic.”
The retirement of Billy Goodwin at the end of the year has caused the commissioner to enter into an agreement stating that Goodwin will continue to aid the county with mobile home inspections as a consultant.
Euharlee Road can expect a transformation at its intersection with Highway 113 soon as well. Randy Gray, director of public works, described the project, which adds turning lanes to help prevent traffic from backing up along Euharlee Road.
“We’re going to create two left turning lanes [off of Euharlee Road going into Cartersville] and one on the right to go west on 113,” Gray said.
Brown approved the bid and entered into a contract with C.W. Matthews Contracting for the road improvements. The contract amount, coming out of the 2003 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is listed as $598,835.
Another road change in the county requires a relocation of power poles along Five Forks Road as the public works department prepares to re-route the road from Cass-White to Cass-Pine Log in an effort to ease traffic congestion around the Travel Centers of America.
A personnel policy currently in place has been amended in a more formal manner when the commissioner readopted the county’s personnel policies and procedures, drug and alcohol policies and motor vehicle operation policies. Along with revisions and amendments, the change, in particular, makes the requirement for employees to wear seat belts when operating county vehicles a formal procedure.
Brown also signed to re-appoint Dr. Tom Bevill to the Board of Health and Karl Lutjens to the Cartersville-Bartow County Tourism Council.