City of Virginia Set to Furlough Up to 28 Employees Beginning in May
"It makes me sick to my stomach," said Mayor Larry Cuffe.
VIRGINIA, Minn.- The City of Virginia is set to furlough up to 28 employees beginning May 4th due to projected revenue losses.
Mayor Larry Cuffe said a majority of the 28 employees are expected to come from Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Golf Course staff. While they’re avoiding cutting any staff from public safety departments right now, the Mayor said that could be a possibility in the future.
The furloughs could last until the end of July.
This is mostly due, Cuffe said, due to projected funding losses form the county of about $950,000 in deferred property taxes, although those numbers could change as the May 15th deadline for filing nears.
Meanwhile, officials from the St. Louis County Assessors office said they have not taken any action on property taxes yet, and so far anticipate the majority will pay.
Mayor Cuffe added that any losses in staff are a big blow to the small city of only 8,432.
“I could try to be tactful but I’m telling you, it makes me sick to my stomach,” he said. “Every layoff that we have, I think has a much more pronounced effect ’cause we can’t draw from another entity, we don’t have other city employees that could come in and take that position.”
“It’s unprecedented in the history of the city of Virginia, we’ve never done this before,” said the Mayor.
According to Cuffe, the city is offering early retirements to those who are eligible, as well as the option of a voluntary furlough, where while employees wouldn’t be getting paid, the city would pay the employer portion of their healthcare.
The City Council is set to review and finalize the decision next Tuesday. If projected losses are less than expected, some of those 28 employees could be called back to work earlier than July 31st when unemployment benefits start to expire, Mayor Cuffe said.