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People, services affected by cuts

Chilton County Tax Collector Tim Little says there are only two ways to truly eliminate costs — to cut people or services.

The tax collector’s office is currently operating with two less full-time employees, after losing one to retirement and another who took a different job. Those gaps are now being filled by part-time clerks.

“Our light bill still costs the same thing regardless of staff,” Little said. “We sold just as many car tags, we had to print just as many receipts.”

The tax collector’s total budget for 2008-09 was $259,657.78. The Department of Motor Vehicles, which falls under the same umbrella, had a budget of $252,729.

Little said he reduced his budget by about $24,000 to meet mandatory 8-percent cuts starting in April. This percentage was taken from remaining funds, not the beginning total amount.

“What I requested last year was exactly what it takes to operate with no increases,” Little said.

This year, he is requesting the same amount, pending approval of the county commission. Included in that request are two new computers — one for each office — that Little requests each year.

“If the county commission doesn’t give out raises, it should be a wash from last year,” he said.

In June, the department stopped mailing out tag renewal notices to citizens, potentially saving about $1,200 per month.

Although increased data processing fees (from $2 go $5 each) could generate as much as $280,000 for Little’s office alone over the next fiscal year, he says the county is in desperate need of revenue or it must continue to cut services.

He pointed to Jefferson County, where staff has been slashed and lines are growing longer.

“If the commission doesn’t come up with more money, we’re going to see it here,” he added.

Little does plan on filling the two full-time positions again, but that is not likely to happen this year.