The Center City Council meets at 5 this afternoon to make amendments to the 2014 Budget, which will likely lead to more reductions to the city’s workforce. City Manager Chad Nehring told Center Broadcasting last Friday this would be the city’s fifth significant step in adjusting operational budgets to accommodate continued sales tax decline and other revenue reduction.
Nehring said the city’s seen an $800-thousand decline in sales tax monies in the past 16 months. A decline in the oil and gas business, closure of manufacturing facilities and Shelby Regional Hospital, have all contributed to the sales tax decline, according the Nehring. In addition, hotel/motel tax monies have decreased sharply, as well as water sales. He said the city of Center has already reduced three full-time (city hall, street and inspection) and one part-time position (civic center), and adjusted a full-time position (annex/city hall) to part-time, in developing the 2014 Budget.
Last Thursday, Center Broadcasting received a press release from the law enforcement union, Texas Municipal Police Association, which was encouraging Center residents to attend tonight’s meeting to show support of three Center Police officers that were to be terminated. The release said, “It appears since there has been mismanagement of City funds, and the City of Center is trying to save money by terminating three, exemplary police officers. One detective is planning to resign to save one of the officer’s jobs, but two officers will still be brought up for termination.”
Nehring responded by saying a couple of these police positions were hired through grant money—which has gone away, and the Budget was not able to absorb the positions. Nehring said additional measures are being taken to help offset the Budget shortfalls, such as raising garbage rates and not replacing some equipment. He said before its all said and done, the city will reduce its workforce to Fiscal Year 2009 levels. That meeting of the Center City Council begins at 5 this afternoon.