TRUMBULL COUNTY Commissioners warn of more cost cuts

One commissioner said all departments, including the commissioners' staff, face cuts.
WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners are considering shaving $2 million from the sheriff's department budget.
Commissioner James Tsagaris said Tuesday the sheriff will most likely take one of the largest cuts because it is one of the biggest departments.
Sheriff Thomas Altiere said he had not been told about the proposed $2 million cut.
"Wow," Altiere said. "That is an awful lot. Our budget is $9 million. I don't know what we will do."
Commissioner Michael J. O'Brien noted that all the figures are still being calculated. "Nothing is final at this point," he said. "We are still working the numbers."
He noted that all departments, including the commissioners' office staff, face cuts.
Other than Tsagaris talking about the sheriff's department, officials are not being specific.
Commissioners are looking to reduce an anticipated $8 million deficit this year. The county planned to spend $39 million, but it is expected to collect only about $31 million in revenue, officials say.
"So far, we have made about $6.5 million worth of proposed cuts. We have to make $1.5 million more," O'Brien said.
Auditor David Hines said his department cannot take any additional cuts.
"They want to cut my budget more and I don't know what I will do," Hines said. "We are already down. This is totally ridiculous. I'm down five people that I lost last year and I have never replaced. I can't lose any more. I won't be able to operate."
In anticipation of the cuts, the county's human resource director, James W. Keating, spent the day meeting with unions representing some 450 workers.
The commissioners are required to inform the unions of layoffs at least 10 days before any cuts are instituted.
Hines and other elected officials have told commissioners the county sales tax must be increased.
Commissioners will have the first public hearing tonight on raising the tax by a half-percent. Another hearing is planned for next week.
O'Brien said a 0.5-percent increase to 1 percent would raise enough money for the county to get by with only some cost-cutting.

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