CASS COUNTY, Mo.—
Cass County's financial crunch has forced the public works department to terminate almost a dozen employees. The presiding county commissioner says if the cuts were not made, the county would not be able to pay its bills.
Cass County Commissioner Brian Baker says eliminating jobs and consolidating departments will allow the county to meet payroll, pay its utilities and remove snow when winter comes. Beginning October 1, the Cass County Public Works director says major projects on roads and bridges will stop. The presiding commissioner says 11 public works jobs will be eliminated in order to keep the county fiscally sound.
"If we had a snowstorm in December, the question would be whether or not we could actually afford to clear the snow?" said Brian Baker, Cass county Commissioner. "Those types of things so we had expected a two percent increase in revenue this year and we are not seeing that."
The county says it needs revenue and in order to get it, public works equipment will be sold. The county is also shifting the work schedule to four, nine hour days and a half day on Friday to save on gas and to save the county more than $600,000.
"We will just have to adjust the crews and our work schedule and do the best we can," said Chuck McCulloh, Cass County Public Works director.
Cass County Public Works director Chuck McCulloh says the cuts mean 30 miles of road will not be resurfaced. McCulloh says he's thankful 120 miles of county roadwork was done in early 2011.
"What we were going to do is put another coat of chip seal over the top of them to improve the road surface, but instead of that now we'll just fix potholes," McCulloh said.
The county says it will also clear brush from the side of the roads to make sure visibility is not obstructed.
In addition to cutting the public works department, Cass County Commissioners consolidated the planning office with the codes and zoning office.
That brought the total number of jobs lost in county government to twelve.