Basalt ends mandatory furloughs | AspenTimes.com

Basalt ends mandatory furloughs

BASALT – The town is ending mandatory furloughs for employees for the second half of 2010, according to Town Manager Bill Kane.

The cost-cutting measure is being suspended because of sagging morale rather than improvement in the town budget, Kane told the Town Council at a recent meeting.

All employees were required to take one furlough day per month from January through June. That was equal to a 2.5 percent pay cut.

Town Hall was shut down one Friday per month because of the furlough. Public works and the police department adopted their own schedules so they could continue to provide essential services.

When the furlough plan was hatched last fall, Kane said it would be extended through the year if the town’s revenues didn’t meet or exceed the forecast. That’s been the case. Sales tax revenues are down 6.5 percent for the fiscal year-to-date, December through May. They were projected to be flat.

However, Kane said he doesn’t want to continue the mandatory furlough because it is taking a toll on morale. If the furlough is extended, the pay cut would increase to 5 percent. Instead of taking that step, Kane is looking for cuts in discretionary spending by each department.

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So far in 2010, he said, spending has been less than the budgeted amount. He expects that trend to continue through the year. Therefore, he said, he believes the discretionary cuts will offset the end of the furlough.

The town reduced its work force from 35 full-time equivalents before the recession to 30. Salaries were frozen for 2010 and some benefits pared.

scondon@aspentimes.com