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KCMO City Council to meet regarding city staff furloughs

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Posted at 6:28 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 07:28:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council will meet Thursday to decide whether city staff members will be asked to take furloughs due to the effect COVID-19 has had on the city budget.

It is all part of a proposed plan for the city to cut $50 million from this fiscal year's budget.

The finance committee passed the proposal Wednesday, and it will be in front of the full council at Thursday's meeting.

The proposed furloughs would save the city a little under $1.5 million. They could have proposed to save $2.2 million but chose to exempt positions in certain groups, like the health department.

The length of the furloughs would vary. The more money someone makes, the more unpaid time they would have to take.

At the finance meeting Wednesday, it was announced that under the proposal, employees will have the option to take the furlough in increments.

Many departments have had budgets cut by 4.5 percent, and police and fire were cut by 2.25 percent. The decision is saving the city more than $23 million.

Leaders will also look at contracts and labor agreements to find even more cuts.

"The longer we don't make decisions like when in April or March, deciding to go with a budget this year that was significantly higher than last year. When we decided to go and authorize raises this year, we not only impacted this year but next year and coming years, " Fourth District-at-Large Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said at the finance meeting.

The furloughs are something city leaders are not taking lightly.

"It is not easy to ask the core organization to give and give and give, and I don't make the ask lightly nor do I make it easily," acting city manager Earnest Rouse said.

Thursday's meeting will start at 3 p.m. at City Hall.