More layoffs as Tooele County struggles to balance budget

Published: Friday, May 10 2013 3:26 p.m. MDT

More employees were laid off in Tooele Thursday, May 9, 2013, as the county tries to balance its budget following a $4 million budget shortfall.

Jared Hargrave, Deseret News

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TOOELE — The Tooele County government’s efforts to balance its budget following a $4 million shortfall has led to additional job cuts.

More workers were laid off Thursday, although the county wouldn’t give an exact number. The additional layoffs mean that approximately 70 employees have received a pink slip since the county commissioners asked county departments to cut their budgets by at least 15 percent last year because of shortfalls.

After the disposal of a chemical weapon stockpile was completed and federal funding for the project pulled, Tooele County government has been constrained to a $23 million budget for 2013 — a $4 million cut.

Many residents say they haven't felt the effects just yet from the cuts, but they could in the near future.

Shantel Allie worked at the Tooele County Solid Waste Facility until Thursday, when she was laid off. She said she thought she was the only one let go this time. She's seen the staff decrease from 17 to 10 within the last few years. She believes customers will start seeing a delay in services.

"When they call and their garbage cans are damaged or run over, it takes us a long time (to help them)," Allie said.

She said all payment is done through the office, which means it could also take longer for customers to pay their bills. "That means they'll be waiting in line for us to take their payments," she said.

Allie's mother-in-law, LuAnn Allie, was also let go this week. "I walked over to my desk, and there was an empty box sitting at my desk," she said.

LuAnn Allie worked in the Tooele County Road Department. She said over the past few months, crews of four workers have been reduced to three and projects have been cut.

"We maintain the roads, and people don't like their roads full of potholes," she said, adding that she also expects residents will start seeing the impacts.

In August 2012, 22 corrections officers were laid off. In November, 22 employees in the attorney's, assessor's and auditor's offices, as well as the Deseret Peak complex were let go. In March, 23 people who work with the county's parks and recreation and maintenance departments were laid off. Every worker at the Deseret Peak Complex, except for the facility's director, was also laid off.

Email: ddolan@deseretnews.com

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