Martin: Hayden furloughs start in June | CraigDailyPress.com

Martin: Hayden furloughs start in June

Decreased sales tax revenue cuts hours by 10 percent in Hayden

Blythe Terrell

— Reduced sales tax income will force the town of Hayden to implement a furlough plan for its employees, Town Manager Russ Martin said.

The town expects to bring in $800,000 in sales tax revenue in 2009, compared with $1.1 million in 2008, Martin said. All hourly employees will be reduced to an average of 36 hours per week, he said. That amounts to a cut of eight hours, or 10 percent, for every two-week pay period. Employees’ wages won’t change, Martin said.

Cuts will go into effect after June 20 so employees have a month to make financial plans, he said.

As part of the cuts, Hayden Town Hall will be closed Friday afternoons starting June 5, Martin said. He said he didn’t expect to lay off any staff members, but the furloughs could last.

“We don’t anticipate getting out of this scenario at least through the 2010 budget and possibly beyond,” Martin said.

The cuts will affect every department and all 17 full-time, benefited town employees, he said.

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“Unless we can cut our base down to a reasonable level in all departments, we’ll be unable to make this work,” he said.

Part-time and seasonal workers also will feel the effects, though Martin wasn’t sure to what extent.

The town’s three salaried employees – Martin, Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Hockett and Finance Director Lisa Dowling – have agreed to take a 10 percent pay cut as well, Martin said.

Everyone’s cuts and furloughs will start June 21.

Sales tax figures are tracking almost exactly with the town’s 2005 numbers, Martin said. Hayden brought in $809,000 in sales tax that year.

The town is cutting staff levels accordingly, though Martin said he didn’t expect levels of service to drop.

The cuts include all Hayden Police Department employees. Police Chief Ray Birch will be charged with structuring his department accordingly, Martin said.

“I couldn’t be more confident in their ability to find a way to cut back : (and) do their jobs at the highest level possible,” he said.

The town won’t have to dip into its reserves yet, he said. The town could make additional cuts, and department heads will organize those.

“This is not a surprise to anyone,” Martin said.

The sales tax reduction is largely related to a slowdown in traffic at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden. YVRA accounts for half of Hayden’s sales tax, Martin said in October.

YVRA saw fewer passengers this ski season, Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said in April. December through March deplanements, or arriving passengers, decreased 14.7 percent compared with the same period in 2007-08. December through March enplanements, or departing passengers, decreased 12.5 percent.

Martin said he was trying to take a measured approach to the cuts. He’ll present them to the Town Board of Trustees at its June 4 meeting.

“I want to make sure we do this in a very clear and structured and nonpanicked way,” Martin said.

He said that he was disappointed to have to cut back but that staff members were handling it well.

“We’ve got a great staff,” Martin said. “I’m hoping that every single one of them stays with the town.”

– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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