P’DALE

The Covington News - - Lo­cal news -

also see a 20 per­cent de­crease in hours - from 40 to 32 a week - and a 20 per­cent de­crease in their pay as well.

City em­ploy­ees who were is­sued cell phones will have those ser­vices cut, as will the clean­ing and ex­ter­mi­na­tion ser­vices to the city an­nex. Public ser­vants will no longer be able to take cars home with them; this in­cludes police of­fi­cers, the city man­ager, code en­force­ment and the public works su­per­vi­sor. The ex­cep­tion to this cut will be the chief of police and the city’s K-9 of­fi­cer. The city’s police of­fi­cers will see a 20 per­cent de­crease in their hours, though Fox is quick to say the city will still have enough man hours to cover the city at all times.

There was talk among coun­cil mem­bers of rais­ing the mill­age rate in or­der to help the city, but cur­rently the coun­cil has de­cided not to raise taxes or fees, ac­cord­ing to Fox. In­stead, city em­ploy­ees will take the brunt of things in or­der to keep the cit­i­zens from feel­ing the st­ing of a tax in­crease.

“With­out be­ing able to raise taxes and fees, it only leaves us with the op­tion to cut our ex­penses,” Fox said. “ It’s pretty ba­sic - it boils down to sim­ple math. Ev­ery em­ployee - in­clud­ing my­self - has to sac­ri­fice a lit­tle for the city. So far the em­ploy­ees un­der­stand we need to pull to­gether as a mu­nic­i­pal fam­ily right now.”

Ac­cord­ing to Fox the only other op­tion for the city would be to lay­off more work­ers, some­thing he says the other em­ploy­ees are will­ing to take a pay cut to keep from hap­pen­ing. With­out two lay­offs and the changes the coun­cil has de­cided to make, the city would have to lay­off four ad­di­tional work­ers in or­der to make up for the money they save with the re­duc­tions and cuts they have de­cided to im­ple­ment.

“It seems like we are hav­ing one fi­nan­cial chal­lenge af­ter another,” said Fox. “And we are not alone. These are some pretty sig­nif­i­cant changes for a small staff like ours and we just hope the econ­omy im­proves and we can re­store the same level of ser­vice we have been pro­vid­ing. We still feel we can pro­vide the essen­tial ser­vices but we will be do­ing it a lot leaner. “The city work­ers will be the ones to make the sac­ri­fice,” Fox added, “so that the cit­i­zens don’t have to. The easy fix would be to raise taxes but no one wants to do that.”

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