City begins layoffs

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Officials say more could come

By Jesse Osbourne

One city employee has been laid off, and the mayor and city administrator indicate that more layoffs are possible.
The Springfield Sun obtained a copy of a letter from Mayor Dr. John Cecconi detailing the layoff.
The letter was addressed from the mayor to former Springfield employee Michael Bonzo, who worked for the city’s public works department. The letter, dated March 9, informed Bonzo that he would be laid off, effective immediately, due to budget constraints the city is facing.
Cecconi indicated that there would be other changes in the foreseeable future, including the possibility of more layoffs.
City administrator Laurie Smith added that the city anticipates more potential layoffs.
“It’s a delicate situation, it’s a very difficult situation, and we’re compassionate when it comes to employees,” she said.
In connection with budget constraints, the city placed an ad in this week’s issue of The Springfield Sun for part-time, seasonal and temporary employees to perform duties such as mowing, weed eating and miscellaneous maintenance.
Smith said the mayor and council were possibly looking at a reorganization of the city work force so the city can continue services “as best as we can possibly do.”
“We may have to consider part-time, seasonal or temporary workers during the economic downturn,” she added.
In the administration report presented to the city council on March 8, Smith wrote about items the budget committee has been considering.
“To date, the committee has called on department heads to review staffing levels, reviewed fringe benefits, cost-sharing possibilities, considered policy changes that would result in financial improvements and numerous potential savings have been taken into account,” Smith wrote.
“Formal considerations will be made after further meetings in March and April. Some changes may be recommended prior to July 1, while other recommendations will be suggested for the fiscal year beginning of July 1,” she added.
At the city council meeting Tuesday, Smith said the budget committee has already put in eight to 10 hours of meeting time reviewing the city’s financial situation.
“They’ve been very efficient,” she said. “I think that the taxpayers of this community would be very proud of our committee. I think they’ve been very conscientious. I see a lot of compassion. They don’t want to lay people off, but they do recognize that this is a big decision for them to have to make.”
Cecconi had advice for the council, as well.
“If you’re getting the people that are doing the work, you ought to get yourself, too. That’s my idea. Including me,” he said. “I don’t think you should exempt anyone in consideration. If you’re going to do something to public works, or you’re going to do something to police, you ought to do it to yourself.”

In other news
• The city received one bid for asphalt from Nally and Haydon Surfacing. The bid came in at $78.75 per ton, with a clause that stated that “prices are subject to change according to Section 109 of the KYTC Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction for Fuel and Liquid Asphalt.” The bid was based on the Asphalt Price Index of $462.13. The city solicited for bids on concrete and asphalt, but only received the Nally and Haydon bid, which does not cover concrete. The council voted to accept the bid.

• Springfield Fire Chief Jim Logsdon reported that the department made two runs last month. One run was for a controlled burn, the other was for a carbon monoxide detector.
Logsdon also reported the department was up to 21 people now, with the addition of two new volunteers.
“One of them is a full-time firefighter with Danville,” Logsdon said. “He’ll be a good asset.”
He added that that particular firefighter was already trained.

• Parks and Recreation Director Bernard Smalley reported that the park suffered $5,000 in damage to the batting cages and the sign coming into the park by the tennis courts during the last wind storm.  
Smalley also noted that BB&T Bank will be painting 20 picnic tables and doing some landscaping at the park, free of charge.
Smalley asked the council to consider banning inflatable slides and bouncers from the park.
“We have park equipment. They bring their own (inflatables),” Smalley said. “I’d like to stop that  because, if it’s wet, it tears up grass. We’ve got a lot of playground equipment out there. I don’t think we need to bring in extra.”
City administrator Laurie Smith informed the council that an event already reserved for the park in April had been pre-approved for inflatables.
“They’ve already submitted their insurance certifications to us,” Smith said. “So they would be an exception to this rule, just because they’ve already made those arrangements for their event.”
The council voted to approve the ban of inflatables at Idle Hour Park.

• Public Works Director Glenn Mattingly announced that the new concession stand at the park was complete.
“I personally think it’s a spectacular improvement,” Mattingly said. “I think it will be much more functional.”
Mattingly said some measures were taken, such as insulating the attic and new walls, to save money in electric costs.

• Council member Lisa Haydon inquired about additional sidewalks in the city.
Other council members, the mayor and Mattingly explained to Haydon that repaving streets takes priority over adding sidewalks.
Mattingly explained that it took roughly $60,000, roughly what is budgeted for streets and sidewalks now,  to repave one street a few years ago.
“You’re going to have about $60,000 to spend, and that will black top one good street,” Mattingly said. “That doesn’t go very far when you’re talking 70 some dollars a ton for blacktop.”
“So, I can forget about the sidewalks?” Haydon said.
“I wouldn’t say forget it,” Mayor Cecconi said. “Everything is taken into consideration.”

• In the Main Street /Renaissance report, Nell Haydon wrote that the “Washington County Schools are celebrating Youth Arts Month with an art exhibit of student work in the Opera House auditorium. The display will be open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. until March 10.”