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Cost-cutting move

Published January 14. 2011 05:00PM

The Carbon County Commissioners will be looking at possibly cutting employee seminar expenses.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Charles Getz stressed the need to look at ways to save money.

"We got to start getting tougher (on county spending) because I don't want to see anyone get laid off and I don't want to see taxes go up," he said.

Getz suggested that over the next few weeks, the board sit down and look at seminar costs and see if they can cut some of the spending. He hopes to make a decision on seminars by Jan. 31.

Getz estimated the county spent around $50,000 last year for employees to attend seminars. This includes the price of the seminar registration per employee, mileage reimbursements, lodging and meals.

"I spoke to a commissioner in Lackawanna and they cut all of their seminar requests out," he said. "If we have to go that route I don't know, but we have to start coming up with ideas where we can save money. I think this is the first thing we have to look at."

Commissioners William O'Gurek, chairman; and Wayne Nothstein agreed that they must take a look at the spending.

O'Gurek said that the county is already looking at the seminar figures.

He noted that the county spent $36,000 alone on just registration fees for seminars in 2010. This does not include mileage, lodging and meal reimbursements.

Nothstein said he feels the county needs to look into the matter, but feels that cutting seminars completely wouldn't be a good thing.

He said that the seminar requests should be looked at on an individual basis because some seminars are beneficial to the operations of a county department.

Nothstein added that some points the county should consider when looking at requests include if the county will be reimbursed by the state agency for an employee attending; if the seminar provides better services to the constituents; will it provide proper training for filling out forms and other services; and does it provide for better services for the county population.

"We need to tighten up on these requests, but it needs to be on an individual basis," Nothstein said.

Getz agreed, saying that some seminars are beneficial to the proper operation of the county, but the ones that are repetitious should be cut.

The county will now investigate the total cost of how much it spent on seminars last year, and will make a decision on the matter in the next few weeks.

The commissioners said in December that they were committed to not raising taxes again in 2012 and plan to find ways to save money.

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