Budget struggles close Lawrence County offices every Wednesday

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Residents in and around Moulton are having a hard time getting county business done -- this after a decision made in the last county commission meeting that brought big changes to business hours for all county offices.

"We had to start somewhere," said county commissioner Bradley Cross.

In big letters, signs saying 'CLOSED WEDNESDAYS' met with frustration and surprise across the area. Offices closed to counterbalance a loss of revenue from the now-closed international paper plant and TVA In Lieu of Tax.

"All that revenue went into the general fund as that's where our salaries are paid from," explained Cross.

So the probate and judge and revenue commissioner were told to cut 20%. So they cut a day -- Wednesday to be exact.

"Mondays and Fridays are the busiest days according to them, and they should know," said Cross.

County commissioners say they know it's got to be a pain for citizens trying to get things done but say it's an even bigger hardship for around 100 county employees.
And layoffs would have been the only other option. The county is down about half a million dollars and cutting 20 percent will bring back around 250 thousand dollars. The new four-day plan doesn't solve the whole problem but cross sad they couldn't make payroll without it.

"It's something we couldn't avoid but they're going to have to bear with us until we get out of this situation," said Cross.

The Wednesday closures will be in place at least until October 1 when county leaders will reassess the budget and make any changes they can.