Job reductions, furloughs for city workers a possibility

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 05:37 PM.

Confronted with the reality of cutting city jobs, the Havelock Board of Commissioners directed the city staff to re-examine the entire proposed budget for 2013-14.

The board met Monday in hopes of cutting the budget to eliminate a proposed 2-cent property tax increase. Some cuts were proposed but the idea of eliminating some of the 125 employees was not a step commissioners wanted to take on Monday.

They directed City Manager Jim Freeman and Finance Director Lee Tillman to go back over the budget.

"I think the city manager and the finance officer need to go back and take a look at every department and look at positions," Commissioner George Liner said. "If we’re at zero growth this year with an opportunity of zero growth next near, we’re going to have to do something … furlough, people gone, or drastically reduced services."

The total proposed budget stands at $15.6 million, with property taxes increasing from 46.5 cents per $100 in property value to 48.5 cents, about $27 per year on the average Havelock home valued at $134,830.

Commissioners and Mayor Jimmy Sanders have said they don’t want a tax increase in the budget. Sanders said he didn’t think Freeman and Tillman would want commissioners to make the cuts.

"I think you’ll use a scalpel, and we’ll use a rusty axe," he said.

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