Twenty-two laid off as Utah chemical disposal plant closes

The closure of a chemical weapons stockpile has recently forced Utah's Tooele County to lay off an increasing number of employees.

When federal authorities completed disposal operations at the U.S. Army-run Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the county was faced with an immediate $4 million budget cut, according to

Constrained to a $23 million budget, Tooele County was forced to release 22 corrections officers in August. Last week, another 22 government employees were let go.

County Commissioner Colleen Johnson said that the majority of the recent round of layoffs was in the attorney's, assessor's and auditor's offices. Several were from the Deseret Peak Complex, a government run entertainment venue.

Johnson said that if the county jail were to receive an increasing number of federal inmates it would be able to rehire the corrections officers. She said there were currently too few inmates to warrant so many officers.

"We had hired that many and put them through POST," Johnson said, reports. "We have the capacity of 225 beds and we had only 100 prisoners in there."

Johnson said she hopes this will be the last round of layoffs, especially with the holiday season fast approaching.

"I don't have a crystal ball. I don't know what's going to happen," Johnson said, reports. "I don't think the economy is going to turn around as fast as some people would like it to, and I don't think it will either. But, we have to do what we can do because people still want the services that the county offers."