This Monday, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors plan to consider mandating budget cuts in all county departments — and those cuts could cause layoffs of time off without pay for employees in some departments.

    The board held two work sessions Thursday — one to discuss all types of county business, and another held solely to discuss possible solutions to the county's worsening budget problems.

    County Administrator Mike Sumrall told the board that, if things continue the way they're going, the county's general fund could be short by hundreds of thousands of dollars by the end of the year — or more than a million in a worst case scenario.

    The board discussed a variety of potential cost-cutting measures at the work session, and eventually agreed to consider mandating a budget cut for all departments, leaving it up to the department heads where to make those cuts. They  also discussed the possibility of parking all non-emergency vehicles, but it was not clear whether a motion to do so will be made at Monday's meeting.

    Sumrall said that, during the meeting, he will recommend a percentage for all departments to be asked to cut the remainder of their budgets for the year.

    District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt said it will be up to the heads of each department to decide where to cut their budgets  — from supplies, capital outlay, personnel, or elsewhere.

    The cuts could mean that some department heads have to reduce their payroll expenses by having employees take days off without pay or by not filling positions that have been vacated.

    Hitt and District 2 Supervisor Joe Norwood both suggested a county wide hiring freeze, saying that leaving vacant positions unfilled or moving county employees to different positions could help prevent layoffs.

    The board also discussed a county-wide furlough or a four day, 40 hour work week, but decided to bring up the departmental budget cuts at Monday's meeting instead.

    The board is also looking to save money on cell phones and mail. Currently, the board does not have a cell phone plan with a flat fee, causing very high phone bills for some employees who use a large number of minutes. Sumrall said he will contact various cell phone service providers to look for a plan that is more cost effective.

    The board instructed it's administrative assistant to look into saving money on mail by searching for unnecessary post office boxes or postage metering machines.

    The board said they will consider the departmental budget cuts because the alternative is giving time off without pay to employees who have not had a raise in two years.

    The next meeting of the board of supervisors will be held Monday at 9 a.m. at the Raymond P. Davis County Annex Building.

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