Briefs: Town commits to keeping employee paychecks whole through winter season
Town keeps employee pay whole through winter season
Despite the negative economic impacts the coronavirus pandemic has had nationally, statewide and in Snowmass Village, town manager Clint Kinney said March 31 that the town is committed to keeping employee paychecks whole for the rest of the winter season.
Kinney said this will be done by pulling from employee’s sick leave and paid time off “banks,” and that the town will work with department staff on an individual basis to figure out the details.
Some town employees are able to work from home easily while others have had reduced hours due to the public health orders and social distancing measures in place to mitigate COVID-19.
But bottom line, Kinney said town employees can expect to receive whole paychecks through the rest of the winter season.
“We are very confident we’ll get through the winter season keeping employee paychecks whole,” Kinney said.
On a big picture level, Kinney emphasized the town has a long tradition of being fiscally conservative and is in a good place financially to weather the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
For example, Kinney said at the end of 2019 the town ended up with $4.8 million more in revenue than it had budgeted for, and has doubled its designated reserves over the past four years. The town has not had to tap into its reserves due to the coronavirus pandemic as of March 31, Kinney said.
Kinney said while he can’t predict the future, he feels the town’s longterm strategy of “underestimate revenues, overestimate costs” will help the village make up for any financial deficits related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“My punch line is planning for a financial crisis doesn’t start today with cuts, it starts a long time ago with strong fiscal policies,” Kinney said.
In preparation for the Town Council meeting Monday, Kinney said he and the town’s finance department are looking at how the coronavirus pandemic could impact 2020 tax projections, which will be presented to council and community members.
The town also is set to formally contribute at least $100,000 to the Pitkin County COVID-19 relief fund at the Monday meeting.
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On Sept. 11, a small group of local Roaring Fork Fire Rescue responders walked 3 miles from Snowmass Town Park to the Top of the Village for the fifth annual Axes and Arms 9/11 Climb.