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Officials expect tighter budget

Government department heads within the City of Thomson and McDuffie County are being warned ahead of time that things could worsen if the economy doesn't get any better.

It's nothing drastic, just tightening the belt up more where spending is concerned, says McDuffie County Manager Don Norton.

"This is something we've got to do and we've already told our people," Mr. Norton said in a recent interview.

Thomson Administrator Don Powers said city department heads also have been told that the new 2010 budget will be a lot tighter.

During a recent meeting of Thomson City Council, Mr. Powers explained that the water department is of particular concern to him because demand has been lower as compared with previous years, coupled with the fact that customers from the water system expansion in South McDuffie County have not come online as fast as originally expected.

"We've got to do something different, because we're down in revenue by 10 percent," Mr. Powers said. "That's a pretty big drop in our revenues."

Already, city officials have trimmed back overtime hours for employees and are constantly working to find other cost-saving measures.

"Everybody, I think, understands that our economy is pretty bad right now and we've just got to start cutting back where we can," Mr. Norton said. "Government is no different. We've told our people, if you don't absolutely need it, then don't request it."

Mr. Norton contends that things are not as bad as they could get.

Unlike the state of Georgia, which has many departments under mandatory furloughs and major cutbacks, the county hasn't taken any measures like those. Nor have they talked about any layoffs.

"If things continue to worsen in the future, those things might come up for discussion," Mr. Norton said.

Web posted on Thursday, September 24, 2009

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