Village Employees face furloughs
Employees face furloughs
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Last updated: Thursday February 19, 2009, 8:17 AM
BY EVONNE COUTROS
RIDGEWOOD — Faced with a 2009 budget that exceeds $41.6 million and no increase in state aid, village employees could be getting additional time off — but it won’t be paid.
“A one-week furlough is on the table for village employees,” Village Manager James Ten Hoeve said of furloughs for about 280 workers. “It could be worked out to be one day off a month for the second half of the year or we could shut down one day a week out of the 12 summer weeks for non-essential services. It would save $425,000.”
Any discussion of furlough time involves communication with seven unions that represent employees in the village, including a majority of police and fire personnel, village officials said. The police and fire chief would not be exempt from furlough time, nor would Ten Hoeve.
“We would not compromise safety,” Ten Hoeve said. “We would not let that happen.”
State-mandated costs to the village add up to $28.2 million, including $4.9 million for group insurance and $2 million in pension costs for fire and police personnel. Non-mandated expenses add up to $13.4 million, and that’s where department heads are being asked to pinch pennies. Cuts must be made to the tune of 6 percent, or $804,000.
“Budgets were fatter in the past,” Ten Hoeve said. “Layoffs are the alternative to the furlough. Layoffs and furloughs would be the absolute last resort because that would translate into a loss of service for our residents. We don’t want that to happen.”
A final decision will come by the end of March when village officials meet with department heads and review the details of their budget requests, Ten Hoeve said. The 2008 village budget was just over $40 million.
“At this point we are $50,000 above the levy cap,” Ten Hoeve said of the 4 percent cap set by the state budget. “My concern is that there are over $800,000 of one-time revenue sources in the 2009 proposed budget. They will not be there next year, so new revenue sources have to be identified or structural cuts in expenditures must be made &hellip and cuts at that level would have to be services.”
One-time revenue sources include the sale of village property and aid to offset debt service, for example.
“Once you use those funds, they are gone,” Ten Hoeve said. “What we’re trying to do is plug the gap this year with revenues that are available and that gives us time to plan and orderly restructure ourselves for 2010.”