During the budget crises of the last year or two, as Metro Government has repeatedly cut back services, closed parks and instituted hiring and salary freezes, the one area that seemed to be off-limits to the budget ax was personnel. Mayor Abramson made several budget announcements in which he was able to say, proudly — the good news is there are no layoffs.
Those days are over.
Abramson’s new budget calls for significant cuts, based on estimates of a 2 percent revenue decline in the current year and a forecast 1.4 percent drop next year. So 528 positions are coming off the payroll, including 119 people who will lose their government jobs on July 1. The other positions are open and won’t be filled. Cuts to his and senior staff salaries remain in place.
There will be four new furlough days (yet to be determined) and there will be cutbacks in street sweeping and junk pickup. Fees for construction permits and alcohol licenses are going up. And if you get locked up, the booking fee at the jail goes up from $25 to $35.
Departments most affected by personnel cuts, in order, are Neighborhoods, Parks, Human Resources and Housing. Police and Public Safety expenses, which make up 56 percent of the Metro budget, will see only a slight decrease.