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Augusta will furlough city workers except First Responders and close the Hatch Hill Landfill on Monday as a cost-saving measure to balance a $559,000 total revenue shortfall due to the pandemic. A second furlough is planned for June 22.
The two furloughs are expected to save the city about $69,000. The city is short about $294,000 in anticipated revenues from the Augusta Civic Center and $200,000 in property tax revenues. The rest comes from anticipated excise-tax revenues, said Ralph St. Pierre, assistant city manager and the city’s finance directors.
The city will likely use a portion of a $7.2 million reserve account to address the shortfall, according to the Kennebec Journal.
About 127 of the city’s 230 workers will have the furlough days off without pay, said Susan Robertson, assistant city manager and the city’s human resources director. All administrative offices, public works and the landfill will close on both days.
The furloughs are another difficult step taken by city government following the announcement on April 30 that it would lay off 32 workers by the end of May to balance revenues shortfalls created by coronavirus restrictions and declines in sales, lodging and other taxes since the pandemic began about two months ago.
Waldo County commissioners said Thursday that they have also furloughed workers, three non-essential county employees, ahead of possible revenue shortfalls. The workers laid off so far include employees working in the registry of deeds, probate court and in the facilities department.
In Augusta, some workers have already been let go as part of the layoff plan, which targeted 15 full-time and 17 permanent part-time employees. Most of them work at city facilities that are largely closed due to the pandemic. They include the Augusta Civic Center, where most public events have been canceled, along with Lithgow Public Library and the child care bureau at Buker Community Center, officials have said.
The layoffs will conclude by May 27, but some might be rescinded as city services come back online, Robertson said.
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