County considers cutting jobs

Prince William County government is expected to cut some positions and reduce its budget by the end of the year to deal with expected state cuts.

The impacts countywide range from nearly half a million dollars at the Community Services Board to less than one thousand dollars at the registrars’ office.

“There are some county employees funded entirely by the state,” said Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large.

Gov. Mark R. Warner announced $857.7 million in budget cuts on Oct. 14, the first of two rounds of reductions that will address a shortfall approaching $2 billion. State aid to localities comprises $114.5 million, or 13 percent of that, with Prince William agencies’ share of the cut amounting to $1.5 million.

Perhaps the hardest hit state-supported county department is the Community Services Board, which handles mental health and retardation patients and those with substance abuse problems. It is expected to lose both positions and services.

Seventeen positions were cut at the state level, although at least six of them are expected to be given other jobs with the county, an official said.

Under the county’s reduction in force policy, workers who lose jobs can be placed in other positions.

Mental retardation group homes will now be operated by an outside contractor rather than the CSB and therapists in mental health and community based youth, family and adult services will be reduced. About 30 one-time users in that program won’t receive financial grants.

Warner announced in October that the CSB’s state general revenue funds were being reduced by 10 percent. That translates to a $464,976 slash to Prince William County’s CSB department.

Some substance abuse prevention services for senior citizens will be lost and assessment and treatment hours will be reduced for county crisis and intervention services. The county Office on Aging will lose 20 clients from its case management load.

The Board of County Supervisors will decide Tuesday if it wants to implement the state cuts or siphon money from other areas, but with a stated board policy of not replacing state shortfalls, the options appear to be few.

Social Services will lose the most — $552,675 — which will impact the Juvenile Detention Home on Va. 234.

Combined with previously announced state cuts that weren’t specified by budget time, the county home will receive less state funding for beds and no increase in staffing to address vacancies.

The state also funds libraries, the commonwealth’s attorney’s office and the finance office.

Another $1.2 billion worth of expenditure reductions will have to be found, said Dana Fenton, assistant to the county executive. The reductions could be in areas already hit, such as the CSB, he said. Warner is expected to announce his next cuts Dec. 20.

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