Jeffco officials looking for ways to hold off Dec. 1 cuts

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County employees may have a lot to be thankful this holiday season. County commissioners may not implement a doomsday plan after all. The County Manger, Tony Petelos, says they are facing a grim financial picture.

"Basically the budget that was passed in September is $40 million short. We are now looking to find the forty million we are short in the budget," Petelos said.

The county is now banking on-one time funds. They hope to get $10.5 million from court appointed receiver John Young who owes the county for professional services, $8 million from the sale of beds at the county nursing home and more money from the sale of the nursing home property. The county also wants to end leases at the satellite courthouses.

The county was looking to implement a Dec. 1 plan to lay off up to 1,000 workers, shut down departments and cut services.

"Employee morale is terrible at this time because we have this every couple of weeks. We have a firm deadline that turns into something it's not," Kathy Burleson, president- elect of the Jefferson County Employees Association, said.

Still, Burleson says the workers welcome the good news.

"All of the employees here are glad of the holidays they have a little security to at least make it through," Burleson said.

But county officials emphasize that this is one-time money only and they will still need help from state lawmakers to find additional funding.

"Our goal is to find funding that does not require layoffs," Petelos said.

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