Glenwood considers furloughs, cites slide in revenue
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – With close to a 20 percent reduction in sales tax revenues for 2009, Glenwood Springs administrators are considering employee furloughs as a cost-reduction measure.
According to July 2 City Council meeting minutes, the city administration is looking for employees to take two furlough days, and three days for city management positions, by the end of the year.
Glenwood Springs human resources director John Angell said that the two employee furlough days would likely occur in September and October, and could save the city up to $40,000 per day.
Administrators are trying to determine days which would have the least amount of impact on the public and the employees, according to city manager Jeff Hecksel.
Furlough days would be a regular business day where the city offices would be closed, except for employees providing essential services.
No final decision has yet been made, but Angell said that a decision could come as early as next week. He indicated that he was working on some of the remaining points Wednesday.
“Furloughs spread the pain,” Angell said. “And it’s better than having layoffs.”
According to the meeting minutes Hecksel said the reason for the furloughs “is to avoid layoffs down the road.”
Hecksel said that furloughs have been “fairly common” with municipalities throughout the state.
“It’s not uncommon,” he said. “A lot of entities are having to do that until their tax revenues rebound.”
Angell said that the city of Denver has also recently gone with furlough days to help ease its financial burden.
The Denver Post reported July 8 that city of Denver employees could have up to four furlough days to be taken before the end of the year.
Glenwood Springs fire and police personnel would be subject to furloughs as well, according to Hecksel. He said that the offices would be closed but that the two departments would have regular staffing levels at all times.
Mayor Bruce Christensen called the furloughs a “minimal action” except for the impact on staff, and said that he hopes it is enough.
According to the meeting minutes, Christensen also pointed out that City Council approved 2 percent raises this year for city employees, knowing that much of the private sector was not giving annual raises. And even with the two-day furloughs, city employees would still come out ahead at the end of the year.
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