The Kern County Administrative Office is recommending the Board of Supervisors institute a hiring freeze through June 2021 to offset revenue losses due to the novel coronavirus.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisors will take up the issue. The county projects it could lose between $39 million to $72.7 million this fiscal year, and $31.2 million to $82.4 million next fiscal year.
Other cost-saving measures proposed by the CAO’s Office include a freeze of all flexible promotions and special step increases through June 2021, and suspension of all non-essential purchases and budgetary savings incentives until the end of the fiscal year.
In a letter to supervisors included in the meeting’s agenda, the CAO’s Office said Kern County unemployment has been projected to be above 30 percent, with permits and new housing construction forecasted to drop by more than 21 percent this year.
“The pandemic has created significant challenges,” the CAO’s Office wrote in the letter. “It is imperative that we take action to ensure that we have sufficient time to implement. Delaying actions will only increase the size of the budget problem. We need to provide sufficient time for our County departments to respond and serve our community with resources that will likely be reduced.”