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Warren County’s not finished with its cost-cutting

Although they've recently cut 11 positions and trimmed government expenses for 2013, Warren County leaders have additional cost-cutting measures they are now considering.

Although they've recently cut 11 positions and trimmed government expenses for 2013, Warren County leaders have additional cost-cutting measures they are now considering. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Although Warren County’s leaders have wrapped up their 2013 budget which includes eliminating 11 government jobs, continuing financial challenges persist that may prompt other cost-cutting initiatives, according to county Administrator Paul Dusek.

Warren County’s $149.9 million spending plan, featuring a 1.99 percent increase in the county’s property tax levy, has been praised by many for its frugality in the face of soaring pension and health care costs.

But Warren County's CEO asserts that local government is not finished with its scrutiny of expenditures.

“This budget is just the start of a long-term process,” Dusek said recently, noting that decreased revenues and ever-increasing employee-related costs will continue to pressure the county’s finances.

Also, the county’s Westmount nursing home is expected to cost taxpayers millions of additional dollars over the next six years due to declining state reimbursements — a prediction that has prompted county leaders to consider selling the facility.

The predicted upcoming financial squeeze has inspired county administrators to devise new methods of saving taxpayer money.

Dusek said one initiative now being studied is a program of standardizing purchase of computers and vehicles to reduce repair and maintenance costs.

Vehicles, he said, might now be shared among departments to maximize their use.

“We’re scouting for every opportunity we can for cost savings, while maintaining programs people depend on,” Dusek said.

A similar program of standardizing copiers and printers — centralizing their purchase and repair — is expected to save the county $540,000 over the next decade.

Launched in May, the initiative has already saved a substantial sum, Dusek said.

Also, the county is considering cutting down on the millions of paper documents it produces each year — by converting to distribution and storage of information via computers rather than hard copies, he said.

“We’ll be utilizing technology more, reducing our paper and printing costs,” Dusek said. “We’re excited that things are moving along.”

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