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BALANCING THE BUDGET MAY FORCE PAYSON TO LAY OFF SOME EMPLOYEES

Layoffs of city employees, including the elimination of the city's animal control officer position, may be necessary if Payson is to balance its 1991-1992 budget.

According to the city's proposed budget, Payson will spend more than $10 million. However, the city anticipates only $7.6 million in revenue, leading to a $2.4 million shortfall.To balance the budget, as is required by law, the city must rely on departmental fund transfers from the $2.7 million surplus it will begin the year with - including $700,000 into the industrial sewer fund - and trimming many departments' operating budgets, such as reducing employees and trimming salaries and wages in the police, streets, electrical, golf course and parks departments.

The proposed budget "does not contemplate any salary or benefit adjustments for city employees," according to a budget memorandum by City Administrator Glen Vernon.

"The proposal also anticipates a reduction in the number of authorized personnel working for the city," he said. "Where possible, it is recommended that personnel reductions be accomplished by not filling vacant positions.

"Nevertheless, some layoffs are contemplated by this proposal. If the proposed budget is adopted, it will be necessary to conduct a careful evaluation to determine the positions that can be cut without seriously hampering the city's ability to provide services."

Both salaries and wages and supplies for the Police Department will decrease about $46,900 and almost $26,000, respectively. Also, according to Vernon's side notes in the budget, the city will eliminate its animal control officer position and contract with the county to provide those services.

Salaries and wages for the Streets Department will decrease more than $20,000, from $105,895 to $85,200, a change reflected by budgetary layoffs, according to Vernon's notes. Electrical salaries and wages will be cut by $15,000, while golf course wages will take a $36,000 cut, which "reflect budgetary reductions in salaries or positions," his notes state.

The Parks Department will see wages decrease to $28,000, down more than 50 percent from fiscal 1991. Vernon's recommendation to the council includes one Parks Department employee splitting time between service to the parks and Cemetery Department, as reflected by a $22,000 increase in the cemetery salary budget.

Most of the surplus city funds come from its pressurized irrigation department. Construction of a $2.5 million citywide system begins this year. Additional revenue surpluses come from the city's Electrical Department, since Payson provides power to its residents.

Vernon said substantial increases in the cost of wholesale electrical power has caused the electrical surplus to dwindle, and because of that Payson has been forced "to drastically reduce many of the department head requests" for the upcoming year.

Overall, the budget contains "little by way of new capital projects or purchases," he said. "The only major exceptions are large projects, such as pressurized irrigation, being funded by special one-time revenues."

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(Chart)

Payson slashin'

City departments and the amounts that will have to be reduced in their salary budgets, either through not filling vacant positions or through layoffs:

Police/animal control $46,900

Streets $20,000

Electrical $15,000

Golf course $36,000

Parks $28,000

Cemetery $22,000