By Ray King
A projected shortfall in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has the Pine Bluff City Council searching for ways to stem the tide and keep the city operating.
Appearing on the Oldies 101.3 morning show Friday, Council member Joni Alexander talked about the city reserve fund, and about the fact is could be used up before the end of the year.
Alexander and most other members of the council met Thursday morning and discussed several options, including layoffs, furloughs and shifting to a four-day work week, which Alexander said she favored but the idea didn’t get much support from other council members, who seemed to support the idea of furloughs for employees.
She said the way the city is going to do the furloughs is “really not going to save us that much money. We’re not doing a high percentage of like the county is doing. We were going to do something like 20 employees, and you know we still have to pay 50 percent of that (federal $600 a week subsidy).”
Alexander said the numbers she has heard is that there will be about 10 people from the police department and one or so from the smaller departments.
“If we do furlough, it’s going to have to be a far greater number than what we’re discussing,” she said. “Somebody is going to have some hurt feelings.”
She said with a four-day work week, the city would be saving 20 percent of what they’re currently paying out in salaries, adding that salaries and benefits are the biggest part of the city’s expenses.
Listen to all of Council member Alexander’s entire interview in the audio player below: