NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County will eliminate 29 more jobs in its building and permitting division Jan. 23 because of the economic downturn, county officials said late Thursday.
The cuts to the 94-employee division come after 22 positions were trimmed last year. The jobs are paid with fees that have fallen sharply after the county's housing boom collapsed.
Of the jobs to go, seven are vacant. The remaining 22 employees will have the chance to interview for 21 other positions in the county's 2,200-employee workforce, county officials said.
"They'll apply and interview for them," budget director Mike Nurrenbrock said. Those positions are being opened up for them and only for them."
One or two people are expected to retire, Nurrenbrock said. At least some of the new positions will pay lower wages.
The county had budgeted to receive $6.7-million in fees for permitting and inspections in 2008-09. But the budget office now projects just more than $4-million actually will be received because of the construction downturn.
Pasco had just 1,111 new single-family housing starts in 2008, a 43 percent drop from the previous year and a precipitous 85 percent drop from the 2005 peak of 7,252.
Amid the downturn, Nurrenbrock said he plans a report to the County Commission on Jan. 27 about the budget and revenue drops. He declined to provide specifics, but said early indications forecast a "mixed bag."