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Working to eliminate $2 million deficit in Orange County
ORANGE COUNTY - by Ashley Gaston - Orange County Commissioners are trying to balance next year's budget and eliminate a possible deficit of more than $2 million.
They're cutting expenses in a number of departments and considering a tax increase from 52 cents per one $100 value to 54 cents.
They're not ready to vote on the increase just yet. Commissioners met Tuesday morning and afternoon in budget workshops. Theyre working on ways to cut costs even more.
Commissioners have met nearly every day for the past two and a half weeks to trim the fat in the budget.
Commissioner Jody Crump told us they need to find a way to cut spending without laying off employees.
Commissioners discussed cutting about ten percent in operational costs from every department but Commissioner Crump says he doesn't know how much that will help.
"Not a lot of fluff in operational costs, we've reduced them, how much slimmer they can get out of that we will get, but we don't think it's going to be enough to cover the deficit," said Crump.
Commissioner Crump doesn't want to raise property taxes. He says it's the job of commissioners to find a way to pass a budget without raising taxes.
Commissioner Owen Burton said he doesn't want to raise taxes either. He says he'll vote in favor of an increase but only as a last resort.
"I think it's miniscule, I think it's very small and Orange County we have a lot of service departments. To serve the people and it's justifiable. Especially this time with the deficit we're facing," said Burton.
Monday evening, Commissioners hosted their second public meeting to discuss the property tax increase.
Orange County Commissioners say that have a lot more work to do.
They expect to vote on the budget September 23.