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Luzerne County Manager: Closing Budget Gap

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WILKES-BARRE -- Luzerne County's manager revealed his mid-year financial plan to the county council Tuesday night.

So far this year, Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton said the county has a $1.8 million budget shortfall and if the county does not tighten its belt, things will get worse.

"If these trends remain unchecked Luzerne County faces a potential year end budget deficit of $2.1 million," said Lawton.

Lawton said he can get things under control in Luzerne County without cutting too many jobs.

Lawton said balancing the budget this year is all about limiting spending, specifically in the county corrections system.

It will also mean consolidating county offices and not replacing positions in different county departments.

"There's no blood on the floor tonight with massive layoffs. I know that has been the rumor around here," said Lawton.

Some people said they are optimistic about the plan. But others said they are not so sure.

"I don't know what the future is going to hold. He made some indications about October and going into 2012, so I think we're going to have to see what happens between now and then," said Paula Schnelly who is president of the union representing some county workers.

Lawton will present his proposed 2012 budget at the Luzerne County Council's meeting in October.