Fifty-one jobs will be slashed in Clark County development services to offset a hefty shortfall resulting from a steep decline in building permits, a county spokesman said today.
County officials avoided uttering the word “layoffs” but said that only so many workers could be transferred to other departments.
To avoid layoffs, officials hope some workers will quit in exchange for severance pay and a year of COBRA medical benefits. The employees would have to resign by June 12 to qualify.
“This economic decline is affecting everyone, including the government,” County Commissioner Rory Reid said. “While it’s painful for everyone involved, it obviously is a necessary step because of the slowdown in the construction industry.”
Aside from cutting 51 jobs, the county will leave 33 positions vacant, saving a total of $10.7 million to offset the expected revenue loss, said Erik Pappa, county spokesman.
The jobs are being trimmed in the 107-person civil engineering division, which relies mainly on fees from residential projects, Pappa said. He said no property tax revenue is used to fund the division.
A stagnant housing market has diminished the builders’ fees that pay the division’s costs.
About $13.8 million is needed to run the division at its current payroll, Pappa said. If staffing isn’t reduced, the current funding will dwindle to $4 million by July, leaving the county almost $10 million short with little revenue expected to flow in after that, he said.
“No one is anticipating major construction projects,” Pappa said.
Staffing is near the same level it was at the height of the building boom in 2005, when 12,000 permits were issued for residential work, county officials say.
This year, the county is on pace to issue fewer than 2,000 permits.
Pappa said it was unknown how many workers will be transferred to other departments, how many will get pink slips and how many will quit.
The county is offering workers who resign a week’s severance pay for every two years of service. They must have been a county employee at least five years to qualify.
“We’re hoping people will take advantage of that,” Pappa said. “No one wants to see anyone lose their job in this economy.”
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.