County, employees to make sacrifices in tough budget year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
The county has gotten serious about saving money.
Employees are losing an appreciation event and commissioners are giving up snacks and and pre-meeting sandwiches.
Officials announced Monday night the annual employee appreciation luncheon has been canceled.
The spring event has taken many forms over the years, including a ball game and food at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.
At other times, the county manager and commissioners hosted the event, helping cook burgers at the Rowan County Agricultural Center on Old Concord Road.
An employee committee decided on a luncheon spread out over three days at the Agricultural Center to give each employee a chance to have lunch.
The cost of the catered meal was $6,000.
Commissioner Jon Barber added an item to the board’s agenda Monday to discuss the demise of the employee luncheon.
He stressed commissioners appreciate the work of employees but said the county is facing difficult times.
He also called on commissioners to “forgo our refreshments in the kitchen.”
Commissioners agreed without a vote.
Chairman Carl Ford said he would feed the board at the next meeting.
Typically, commissioners have snacks, including cookies and drinks, before meetings. For a meeting expected to run several hours, the fare is sub sandwiches and occasionally barbecue.
Ford went further, saying if county employees are asked to take a day off without pay, he’ll work a day without pay.
Neither the food nor the free day of work is likely to make a big impact on the county’s projected $1 million budget shortfall.
The cost of food averages between $30 and $40 per meeting, or about $900 a year.
Ford’s salary offer would net far less. He makes around $14,000 a year as chairman.
Ford’s free day would save the county about $45.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.