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McDonald plans no staffing cuts amid money woes

McDonald plans no staffing cuts amid money woes

McDONALD — Wanting to make sure no services are affected by loss of tax revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic and the closing of General Motors, village officials have been looking at other areas where cuts can be made, including delaying road paving and capital improvement projects while being fiscally responsible.

Council President Ray Lewis said at the September meeting the finance committee has been reviewing the 2020-21 budget and has cut road paving and capital projects for the year.

“We have asked our department heads to provide any potential opportunity to cut back. We are in a situation where we have minimal items that can be cut out of our budget without operating in the red. We will not look to cut any services to village residents that we currently provide. We will not look at any staff reductions whatsoever in the form of benefits, wages or hours. We will see how the rest of the year plays out and have a temporary budget in October,” Lewis said.

Officials have said they are looking to trim $250,000 from the 2021 budget while anticipating a significant loss in income tax revenue because of the closing of General Motors last year and also fewer people working because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewis said the COVID-19 situation has amplified the problems, and council members will keep finances at “bare bones” and look at other options for making cuts without hurting any village services.

“Should the pandemic not settle down, we will look at ways of generating revenue,” Lewis said.

Lewis said no paving project will be able to be done this year, and the situation will be reviewed next year.

“That project is not in the numbers. We want to remain fiscally responsible and want to have a budget that passes with a state audit operating in the black,” Lewis said.

In other business, Lewis said the village has received $66,520 in federal CARES Act funds that can be used for reimbursement of any coronavirus-related expenses incurred by the village from March to the end of the year.

He said $17,000 already has been spent on summer park attendant wages for cleaning park playground equipment, and personal protective equipment for fire, police and village municipal building employees.

Lewis said plans are being discussed for upgrading the foyer in the municipal building to make it “COVID safe” and also upgrading audio and video equipment for council chambers to allow council to be on Zoom and allow the public to be able to comment and ask questions during the meetings. IPads also are being considered to provide better internet connection in case the videoconferencing is not able to be up and running. Lewis said this would help the mayor and village administrator who have both been unable to get on Zoom from their homes.

The foyer remodeling at the municipal building will add protective glass for the offices and hand-sanitizing stations for the mayor’s court and other village facilities.

“We have to decide how much of the funds we will need to remiburse the village for expenses. The finance committee will be in discussion with department heads to identify what those expenses are and how they will be utilized. They have to be utilized by Dec. 31,” Lewis said.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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