KNOXVILLE, TN - The Knox County Fleet Service Center in Tennessee may reduce its operational and personnel costs to meet a proposed 4 percent budget cut per department, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale requested a plan that calls for a 4 percent departmental budget reduction, reported the newspaper.

Phillip May, fleet service manager for the Knox County Fleet Service Center, told the newspaper that if he were to cut at Ragsdale's suggested 4-percent level, he'd look at "cutting some of our operating costs and cutting back on the hours of employees."

Operating costs include parts and fuel. May said he also would cut the cleaning service from three days to two days a week.

"Most of the cuts would come from personnel," May said. He has 21 full-time employees and a $4.1 million budget. He doesn't plan on layoffs, but said he would reduce two employees' hours from 40 hours to 32 hours a week.

He told the newspaper that employees are concerned, but the situation has taught everybody that governments aren't immune from cutbacks and layoffs.

Despite the county's budget problem, May said his department has been able to maintain its level of service.

"We went from a 600-vehicle fleet to a 1,300-fleet," May said, as quoted by the newspaper. ''We've doubled our fleet, and we've kept the same number of employees since 1988. The four percent wouldn't affect us that much. If we had to go eight percent, I would actually lose two employees. It would increase vehicle downtime on repairs and would increase our outsourcing."