Consolidation may be headed to Woodford County

Catherine Schaidle

And then there was one.

On Wednesday, Jill Wilbanks resigned, effective immediately, leaving Kim Holmes as the sole survivor at the Woodford County Zoning Office.

Wilbanks, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, was one of two staff members running the office after former zoning administrator John Hamann severed ties with the county May 21.

Now, in light of the economic downturn, County Board Chairman John Krug suggests consolidating the zoning and assessment offices.

"We will probably be working back and forth with the supervisor of assessments office, which has a part-time office staff; and County Board office secretary Debbie Ulrich said she will help us out, too," Krug said. "People in the courthouse are talking to see if they can streamline the operations of those departments."

Both the zoning and assessment offices involve staff having to go out in the field, he said.

"We have a part-time field man who would probably work when there's something to inspect, and he might work two days or so as needed," Krug said.

Some County Board members have already said staff layoffs are needed in the coming year because of the lack of revenue from a sluggish economy combined with the state's financial crisis.

Tom Janssen, who head the finance committee, said there is a possibility of layoffs in all departments.

"The revenues are down, and we can't afford to keep spending the way we have been spending," Janssen said.

At this time there are no meetings to discuss staffing reductions.

"If we get around to budget time and see our expenses are less than what we thought, then we may not have to cut (staff)," he said.

Janssen had commented previously that the Woodford County zoning office had more staff than other counties of a comparable size and make-up. He was unaware that Wilbanks had resigned.

"Well, then it may be that we may not be replacing her," Janssen said.

The immediate staffing concerns will be discussed by the county offices committee and the comprehensive planning and zoning committee, Krug said.

As for the zoning administrator's position, which had been advertised, Krug said 21 applications have come in. Asked if the County Board would consider cutting that position, Krug said, "Just speaking for myself and not the entire County Board, I'm wondering if we can streamline it."