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City Mayor Discusses Financial Restructuring Plan

The Jamestown City Council will hold a special meeting Monday to possibly approve cutting the 2020 budget by $1.2 million because of the loss of revenues and probable loss in state aid because of the COVID-19 pandemic. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The mayor of Jamestown said a proposal to cut $1.2 million from the city’s budget is to prevent the additional hemorrhaging of city finances because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, city officials released its COVID-19 Financial Restructuring Plan that details cuts that will be made in three phases because of the pandemic. A special meeting of the Jamestown City Council has been scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday to potentially approve the first of three possible phases of budget reductions because of the loss of revenues and probable decrease in state aid.

Sundquist said some of the reductions in services in the first phase will include reducing part-time employees in the clerk’s office; cutting construction projects; eliminating all, but three summer employees; stopping unnecessary travel; cutting all festivals and events; and eliminating overtime.

“The reason we did these (reductions) in phases is we can try to determine how much of a loss of sales tax and state aid there will be during the year. We’re in a position right now that we really don’t’ know,” he said. “Right now, we have not been cut in state aid, but our partners in Albany tell us that it could be cut up to 20%. We could see that along with a dramatic cut in sales tax revenues. If that happens, we might have to move into Phase Two.”

In Phase One, there are no planned layoffs of full-time employees. If the city moves into Phase Two; however, there is up to as many as 20 city employees who could be laid off. Sundquist said if city officials need to enter Phase 2, there will be no furloughs.

“If we enter Phase Two, we’re not looking at furloughs. There would be layoffs,” he said.

Sundquist said if the city has to layoff 20 employees, there will be impact payments made to some collective bargaining units for going below the minimum number of positions in some departments as detailed in current and expired union contracts.

Sundquist said, as of Thursday, city officials have not officially started talking to union leaders about layoffs and minimum number of positions for each department because no full-time employees are being cut in Phase One. However, if the plan is adopted by the Jamestown City Council Monday, the mayor said discussions will start to happen.

“We first want to adopt the plan and then we can start the process of having deep discussions about what the rest of the year will look like going into next year,” he said.

The plan states that in Phase 2, which would save $228,044, there could be as many as 20 city employees laid off, which would approximately be two to five workers in each department. The Phase 3 plan, which would save $54,292, calls for the possibility of 10 more employee layoffs across all departments.

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