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City of Battle Creek eliminates 26 positions due to budget challenges caused by pandemic

Posted at 9:30 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 09:30:21-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Battle Creek city leaders will eliminate 26 positions because of ongoing budget challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Manager Rebecca Fleury and other leaders notified those employees this week, according to a news release Friday.

The changes will take effect Jan. 1 for some and July 1 for others.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do as city manager,” Fleury said. “My senior leaders have worked for months to innovate and strategize, thinking of ways we can provide services differently. These eliminations have nothing to do with our wonderful team and their skills, and everything to do with our budgetary shortfalls; I must do what is in the best interest of the city’s financial health.”

The Battle Creek City Commission on Tuesday approved a budget amendment reflecting the position eliminations, and projects using fund balance – the city’s rainy day fund – of more than $553,000 for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2021.

The original city budget had a fund balance of $4.97 million, but the commission and staff decided they can’t sustain that high a use of the fund.

Eliminating positions is expected to save just under $400,000.

The approved budget amendment also includes a revenue increase of just over $4 million, made up of $2.47 million in CARES Act funding from the state, revenue sharing increases of $1.1 million and personal property tax replacement dollars totaling more than $430,000.

“This funding helps us now, but we do not expect the same dollar amounts for the fiscal year 2022,” Fleury said. “Our process to responsibly balance the city’s budget is not over, and we will watch our revenues and expenditures carefully as we move forward.”