CASPER, Wyo. — The City of Casper is working to implement a furlough program to save some funding with the city anticipating lower sales tax revenues due to impacts on the economy from COVID-19 and a weakened energy sector.
City Manager Carter Napier began discussing the furlough program with the city council in May as one of various measures aimed to limit spending. The city council adopted the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget on June 16.
Casper Support Services Director Tracey Belser said on Wednesday, July 8 that the furlough program was initially intended to begin on July 1, but that the city is finalizing some aspects of the program.
Article continues below...
The furloughs will apply to every city employee in every department, including the city manager and other city leaders. Belser said that the city is tweaking some optional furlough programs that employees can participate in instead of the standard program, which is the reason the furloughs have not already started.
Once they begin, the furloughs will occur by Dec. 31.
Under the standard program, employees who have higher salaries will have longer furloughs. Belser said the furlough times under the standard program are as follows:
- Employees who make $60,000 or less must take 32 hours off
- Employees who make between $60,000-$90,000 must take 40 hours off
- Employees who make over $90,000 must take 48 hours off
Belser said that the city is finalizing options aimed to incentivize employees to voluntarily take more time off in an effort to save the city some additional funding.
The new fiscal year 2020-2021 budget authorizes $132,384,633 in expenditures The budget anticipates that the city will see $135,590,111 in revenue.
Other ways besides the furlough program in which the city is looking to limit spending include halting spending on capital projects, such as for previously planned renovations to City Hall.
The city also froze employee step salary increases, suspended planned hires and reduced contributions to various community non-profit organizations.
Even with such measures in place, Napier told the city council that he expects the city may need to dip into reserves to cover costs throughout the years and that the council may need to revisit the budget to make amendments throughout the year.