The Pendergrass City Council eliminated half of its workforce on Tuesday night, including dismissing its city clerk.
In a unanimous vote by the council, the following five positions were cut: City clerk Katherine Rintoul; assistant city clerk Renee Martinez; full-time police officer Scott Rogers; full-time police investigator Mark Abruzzino; and a full-time position in streets and parks that is currently vacant.
Mayor Monk Tolbert met with the employees following the meeting to inform them of the council’s decision.
“I have evaluated our organizational structure and determined that we must eliminate employee positions by 50 percent immediately,” Tolbert said. “We will offer our displaced employees a severance package and they are eligible for COBRA benefits for their insurance needs. I wish these employees good luck and each of them will get an excellent reference from me.”
The cuts come amid a 63 percent drop in city property taxes due to several developments falling into foreclosure. The city took in $72,700 in property taxes in 2006; this year, that dropped to just $26,800.
The city is also experiencing a 72 percent decline in general sales taxes from 2007. In 2007, the total was $247,838; this year’s total is projected at only $69,454.
The city is also experiencing massive declines in other revenues: Franchise taxes, down 57 percent from 2007 and building permits down 36 percent from 2007.
Overall, the city has seen a 64 percent decrease in net income over the last two years.
On the expense side Tolbert said, “There has been a 16 percent increase in salaries and wages over the past three years.” The total projected for 2009 is $313,920 compared to $260,876 in 2006.
For the full story, see the July 29 issue of The Jackson Herald.