ITHACA, N.Y. —City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick laid out his staff reduction plan in a Facebook Live post on Tuesday.
The plan, which still needs to be approved by the city’s Common Council, reduces staffing by more than 130 positions, filled and unfilled — saving the city about $5.4 million over the remainder of the year and helping avoid a tax hike in next year’s budget.
In his post, Mayor Myrick said he is proposing the “temporary furlough” of 87 employees across all city departments, as well as the suspending the hiring of 46.5 unfilled positions that the city had previously budgeted for.
The Ithaca Voice reported last week that the city was planning to layoff staff to close what city officials are projecting to be a shortfall of anywhere from $4 million to $13 million over the remainder of the year.
Ithaca Police Department will see six of the eight positions on their roster remain unfilled and four administrative staff laid off, while the Ithaca Fire Department will have three firefighters, currently in the academy, laid off.
“The most optimistic projection we have will make this the worst budget deficit the city has ever seen,” said Myrick. “The least optimistic side is catastrophic, it could mean that 30% of our revenue is gone, which would require a 30% reduction in operations. We think a $13 million reduction is something that we could reasonably expect to happen in our revenues.”
“To cut too deep would be a mistake, but to not cut at all would also be a mistake,” added Myrick. The Democratic Mayor adding that, if the city waited to see what Congress passes in way of aid to municipalities, and it ends up not being enough, that the layoffs the city would need to conduct at that point could be steeper and permanent. Myrick said that he hopes by acting early, the long term impact of the layoffs may be reduced.
The city intends for the layoffs to be temporary, but recalling employees remains contingent on city revenue streams beginning to flow again — as well as some sort of federal aid package aimed at counties and municipalities — to determine if and when management may be able to recall employees.
The plan is still just that, a plan. Common Council will review the proposal as laid out by the mayor in a closed-door session Tuesday evening. Discussions of personnel are often held in private due to their sensitivity. Council will then vote on the plan Wednesday evening at a special meeting.
Watch the mayor’s entire Live post below: