City of Grand Junction to cut employee wages in 2010

The recession has finally tapped Grand Junction city employees on the shoulder and reached into their pocketbooks.

The city’s 670 or so full-time workers will take a pay cut next year, the first time that’s happened in at least 30 years, according to city officials.

Employees will see either a 3 percent reduction in their paychecks or a 1.9 percent reduction teamed with two unpaid holidays and two furlough days. Either way, the city should save about $1.5 million, said City Manager Laurie Kadrich, who will decide by the end of this week which alternative to implement.

The City Council, which sets the salaries of Kadrich and City Attorney John Shaver, will have to vote to shrink their pay.

Should employees take the smaller pay cut, it will effectively negate the 1.9 percent pay raise they received this year.

City leaders have lopped more than $7 million off this year’s budget through a hiring freeze that has left nearly 40 positions open, overtime restrictions and various program and equipment purchase cuts.

But Kadrich said that’s not enough heading into 2010, as city sales-tax revenue is mired in its sharpest decline in 25 years.

She appointed a 14-member employee group about two weeks ago to brainstorm ways to save additional money. Employees also examined how other municipalities have dealt with budget constraints imposed by the recession.

Kadrich told City Council members Monday that if employees end up taking off two unpaid holidays and two furlough days, City Hall will remain open on the furlough days and city services will not be affected.

“We’re trying to balance the need of not impacting services to the community,” she said.

But that apparently won’t happen if city revenue doesn’t rebound. Kadrich said it’s too early to predict which direction the economy will go but acknowledged consumer spending in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2010 will comprise a large enough piece of the city’s budget that it will determine whether further cuts are necessary.

And, according to Kadrich, “I’m not sure we can make further reductions without impacting services.”


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