Public Service Center

The Clark County Public Service Center in downtown Vancouver

Clark County officials are anticipating a budget shortfall between $5 million and $13 million for 2020 due to effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the county enacting a hiring freeze as part of its efforts to mitigate the loss.

The county announced that it would be implementing a “phased reduction approach” to make up for shortfalls in the 2020 budget, including emilinating “non-essential spending,” halting some projects out of the county’s general fund, and stopping overtime “when possible.”

The county said that about $4 million was already realized in cost savings, mainly through not filling staff vacancies and delaying projects.

County departments will be submitting graduated budget reductions monthly, and a team of appointed county officials will continue to monitor budgets on a weekly basis, the county announcement said.

“While there are many challenges during this unprecedented time, the county is reviewing opportunities in which we can continue to provide necessary services to Clark County residents,” Clark County Interim County Manager Kathleen Otto said in the announcement.

Clark County is set to receive some federal funds in response to COVID-19, as the announcement noted it anticipated close to $27 million in funding from the CARES Act. Currently the county auditor’s office is reviewing county expenses to ensure all Department of Treasury guidelines are met.

Otto noted that CARES act funding could not be used to recoup revenue losses, however.

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