Fayette County Commission chairman Steve Brown is calling 2013 the year of accountability for the commission.
This year, he says, there will not be any deficit spending, a path he says that previous boards have taken over the years.
“It’s going to be painful, but eventually you have to do something. This is the year we get our house in order.”
He says the county has to earn back the respect of the taxpayers.
“We have to get back to showing them what we’re doing and making tough decisions. We have to earn it. There’s been too much free spending and our priorities have been out of whack.”
He pointed out that the county board of education has also been facing the same problems and, with the announcement of the four schools closing, they too are handling the painful reality of their budget.
Gearing up for the county’s upcoming retreat - no date has been set- Brown has sent out a memo to all employees of the county and asked them to start looking at their department budgets.
“As you know, the county has been engaged in deficit spending for some time now. The deficit stands around $2.8 million dollars this past year. The revenue outlook for the next fiscal year appears to be no better than our current situation. Please, for the sake your departments or offices, give our current budget situation and the upcoming FY 2014 budget your sincere attention.
“It is absolutely critical that you find savings and efficiency in your current budget to soften the actions necessary to balance the FY 2014 budget. If the expenditure is not absolutely necessary, do not expend the funds in the line item.”
Including constitutional officers in the memo, Brown pointed to the hiring freeze the board had enacted to “enable us the ability to eliminate vacant positions verses having to do a reduction in force (RIF). I strongly suggest that you look at taking similar measures.”
Brown noted that, in years past, the county didn’t pay enough attention to the concept of watching its pennies during the good times and now it was paying the price of that.
“This is the year without deficit spending and accountability and people are going to see it in everything we do.”