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Jackson County furloughs employees



NEWPORT, Ark. – The Jackson County Quorum Court approved a plan Friday to temporarily furlough employees due to COVID-19.

A meeting was held in response to anticipated budget cuts predicted by the Association of Arkansas Counties.

County officials believe they will have revenue shortfalls due to sales tax shortfalls, because people aren’t spending money like they are used to, due to the coronavirus.

Jackson County Justice of the Peace Tommy Young said this is the worst situation the county has had to go through since 1919.

The plan presented Friday temporarily furloughs dozens of employees, but will allow those employees to retain benefits, jobs and revenue for the county.

It’s going to affect all employees.

“All the way from the county clerk’s office employees, to the Sheriff’s Department, to the road department, to the landfill,” said Young. “They can still draw unemployment benefits and be able to work a certain amount of hours for the county.”

Officials said the actions they took are in hopes of keeping the county strong and maintaining financial standing.

“You know you don’t want to go bankrupt,” said Jackson County Judge Jeff Phillips. “And, you don’t want to use all your surplus money, because once you use that surplus money, you cannot get it back. So, we are, we anticipate having to use some of it. But, we don’t want to use it all.”

Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas said Sunday that the furloughs would impact about 40 employees in his office, including jail, sheriff’s office and administration.

Lucas said while hours are going to cut for employees, the sheriff’s office will still provide law enforcement coverage for residents in the county even though the duty will be hard.

During the meeting, Newport Mayor David Stewart also said he expects to see a 40% decrease in sales tax revenue.

The motion was approved and it will take effect Friday, April 24.

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