Battle Creek furloughing 95 employees due to coronavirus

Posted at 2:50 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 14:55:00-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The City of Battle Creek is furloughing 95 employees due to "budget gaps" tied to the coronavirus outbreak.

The employees will be furloughed for the month of May and part of June "for some."

City leaders will evaluate the need to continue furloughs on a month-to-month basis, according to the city today.

Furloughs may be extended through July.

The city also said a number of its leaders will take a 3% salary reduction for May, June and July: the city manager; assistant city manager; city attorney; and 27 department heads and division managers.

“I feel grateful for our entire team’s service and professionalism,” Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury said.

“There is no question that these are tough decisions, and we will continue discussing these issues for the foreseeable future as Battle Creek, and communities across the country, continue serving our communities during the challenges the pandemic presents.”

Revenue shortfall

The City of Battle Creek has calculated an estimated $839,178 of expenditures over revenue in the current budget year, as well as an estimated $4.9 million of expenditures over revenue for the next budget year. The city's budget year runs from July 1 to June 30.

The revenue gaps are expected because of several factors: less sales tax collected, reducing state revenue sharing to local governments; less gas and weight tax; and a substantial loss of city income taxes, due to the fact that unemployment and those telecommuting from homes outside the city are not subject to city income tax. The city is estimating a 20% reduction in income tax revenue or about $3.4 million.

Battle Creek will host a budget workshop with the City Commission on May 7 to discuss the "tough budget situation" caused by COVID-19.

City leaders will communicate with elected state and federal officials Battle Creek’s need for "aid" and "relief from these anticipated lost revenues."

City services

The City of Battle Creek said today it is "committed to providing our community with essential services," such as drinking water, waste water treatment and police and fire services.

The city added, however, there will be "consequences across the city organization" due to "the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lower revenues."

City facilities remain closed to the public at least through May 15, based on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order.

Unless the order is extended, City Hall will open to the public on May 18, with essential staff only, and leaders anticipate requiring medical screenings for both staff and visitors.