Nearly a dozen Fresno County employees within the Assessor's Office will soon be looking for work. Officials are blaming this latest string of pink slips on a ruling by the high court. There's concern these cuts could also put the county's bottom line in jeopardy.
Another round of lay offs are threatening the livelihood of Fresno County employees. Last week, County Assessor Paul Dictos issued 14 pink slips to upper management staff. Come March 4th, eleven of those people will no longer have a job.
Dictos says, "I got sick to my stomach but then I just said, you know the public put me here to do a job and I have to do it."
The lay offs were powered by a million dollar budget shortfall. That came after the Supreme Court ruled the Assessor's Office can no longer collect administrative fees from cities. Dictos says the cuts won't only affect employees.
"This is where everything starts. Everything begins right here."
Dictos says 73% of the county's general fund some from property taxes.
He referred to his office as "The goose that lays the golden egg"-- and says it shouldn't be starved. He's asking county supervisors to close the gap.
District one County Supervisor Phil Larson says, "We will discuss it publicly and there will be people in the public who will be able to have input as well."
Larson says the county is willing to help, but not right away. He says there's no room to shell out extra money in this year's budget.
"There's higher priorities, lets put it that way," says Larson.
Dictos says time is of the essence. This year, assessments brought in about $600 million for schools, cities, and county government. The goal is to keep those revenues climbing. That will be a difficult task now that 10% of the department's staff will be let go.
"I'm true believer that when the going gets tough, the tough gets tougher. We just have to do our job faster and more efficiently," says Dictos.
The lay off will save an estimated $800,000 a year for the Assessor's Office.