Sonora, CA — Over recent years many Tuolumne County government offices have been closed in the weeks surrounding the winter holidays due to worker furloughs.
In 2008 there were five furlough days, the next year 10, and the past three years there have been 15. The furloughs did not impact public safety or other emergency services.
The furloughs were implemented as a cost saving measure during the recession. The elimination of the furloughs, however, does not mean the county is completely out-of-the-woods when it comes to budget challenges.
“Revenues are slightly improving for the county, but we still have a long way to go,” says Deputy Tuolumne County Administrator Maureen Frank. “We promised the employees that if we had these past three years of furloughs, then the fourth year, we would try as much as we could to take them away. So, it means that things are looking slightly better, but each and every year there are forces outside of our control (state and federal) that can play havoc on our budget.”
County officials estimated last year that the 15 furlough days saved between $2.5-$3 million. The furloughs resulted in libraries being closed additional days, fewer recreation services around the holidays, and possibly created some delays for residents that had business to carry out with the county (requesting permits, documents, etc).