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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Plan details cuts
City council to consider proposals

Monday, October 12, 2009

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Each employee in the Martinsville Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is to take about 17 days of unpaid furlough this fiscal year to make up for state budget cuts, a plan prepared by City Manager Clarence Monday shows.

The plan is based on recommendations by constitutional officers and other city officials. It is in response to Martinsville losing $256,968 through cuts made by Gov. Tim Kaine in September due to state revenue shortfalls.

Martinsville City Council will consider the plan Tuesday.

The Martinsville Sheriff's Office will see the largest cut at $112,589. The plan makes up for the cut by not replacing a work crew transportation van and a staff vehicle, freezing a vacant health care employee position at the city jail and reducing various jail line-item expenses.

The work crew will have to continue using a van made in 1983, the plan shows.

The commonwealth's attorney's office is losing $25,051 in state funds.

Commonwealth's Attorney Joan Ziglar said Friday that the office will be closed Dec. 23 to Jan. 4. Courts will not be in session on those days, she said, adding that General District Court Judge Ed Gendron agreed to postpone a court session to accommodate the extended furlough.

Employees' other furlough days will be scheduled at various times, Ziglar said.

It is possible the office might close when its attorneys have to go out of town for training, she said.

The furlough will affect Ziglar as harshly as it will her staff, and maybe more. Due to her work load, she said she might have to work days for which she will not be paid. But she will not ask her staff to do that, she emphasized.

She and her staff will just have to work harder to do everything they need to do on days on which they are working, she said.

Ziglar said her staff is taking the furloughs in stride.

"Nobody wants to lose money ... but they're happy that nobody lost a job," she said.

She is afraid the state might impose more budget cuts in the future. She does not yet know how she would make up any such cuts.

In terms of office expenses, "we've always prosecuted on the cheap in Virginia," Ziglar said. If further cuts are imposed, "we'll be bare bones."�

The treasurer's office will see a $5,099 cut. The plan calls for reducing the hours of a part-time employee to compensate. As a result, the office will be shorthanded on due dates for utility bills and other busy days, and the drive-through window might have to be closed for brief periods, the plan says.

Other constitutional offices will not suffer consequences as dire, the plan indicates.

The council will discuss the plan when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in its chambers at the municipal building on West Church Street uptown.

Other agenda items will include:

"¢ Proclaiming Oct. 19-23 as "GED Week" and "Lifelong Learning Week," as well as October as "Community Planning Month."�

"¢ Hearing reports from the city's Green Committee and Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. President/CEO Mark Heath.

"¢ Considering final approval of an ordinance that provides a tax credit for certain real property rehabilitation and renovation.

"¢ Considering authorization of a refund for the overpayment of a tangible personal property assessment.

"¢ More discussion of a proposed dog defecation ordinance.

"¢ Making routine-type budget adjustments.

"¢ Hearing business from the floor.


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