Some of Presque Isle’s city workers will not be clocking in tomorrow, this is because the city will be having its second furlough day.
These days are a direct effect of the cities budget being reduced. They used money from a budget that was already adopted, and increased property taxes to make up for most of it, but were still left with a 50,000 dollar balance. As a way to make up for that workers will have to take part in an unpaid day. Tomorrow will be a furlough day for Solid Waste employees.
“Anybody who drives out to the landfill or drives to the recycle center, it won’t be open tomorrow, and those employees are off without pay tomorrow. We are trying to minimize that but given another choice looking at whether to lay employees off we believe that will be a longer term more adverse impact on the citizens.” Said Bennett.
Two other decisions that made were, all employees hired prior to 1996 transition to the same payment for health insurance as all other employees, and, employees hired after 1996 forgo 1% of the City’s contribution to retirement for a period of six months.
Bennett said, ” The council made the decision that we cannot afford to be able to honor those costs that were negotiated long ago before when the city use to get a lot of money from the state, and back when health insurance was much cheaper.”
Bennett told us that many of the unions within the City did not agree to the request but after several months of discussions, the union leadership did not offer an other alternatives to obtain the same dollar figure. Bennett told us that the city has no choice but to obtain the remaining balance in ways that are in compliance with union contracts.
As of right now the shut down days include two days for solid waste, public works, and the airport personnel. Public safety was asked to give back one holiday instead. This week solid waste will be shut down on Tuesday, public works on Wednesday. And in two weeks it will happen again.