Lawrence County Commission Prepares For Budget Cuts

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MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) - There are going to be some serious budget cuts in Lawrence County. It's the result of International Paper closing down. That was the county's largest employer. More than 11-hundred jobs were lost, not counting support personnel and other businesses that will suffer. We expect to learn next week what county commissioners will do to keep their budget in the black.

Mose Jones has been a member of the Lawrence County Commission for 26 years. "This is going to be one of the toughest budgets I've ever been under, because of the revenue you done lost," Jones told WHNT News 19 Thursday afternoon.

It amounts to about $1.6 million dollars the commission will lose next fiscal year, and for a county the size of Lawrence, that's a lot of money. Jones says the commission will meet next week and begin the task of drawing up a budget for next fiscal year. and he says some programs are going to get a close look.

"We do a whole lot of giving to certain programs that we may have to consider that we can't give to like we used to," Jones said.

As for county employees, Jones says right now he feels like their jobs are safe.

"That would be the last area I'd look into, I feel like there's some more areas that we can cut without cutting employees. Yeah."

Jones says the loss of the county's largest employer, International Paper, is only partially to blame for the county's tight budget. He says other obligations the commission has taken on in recent years, as well as unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments have collectively forced the county into the position it's in now.

The Lawrence County Commission is expected to schedule work sessions beginning next week to try to come up with a new budget for FY2015.

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