By Lee Weyhrich
The city of Clay has cut a total of four city jobs as a way to stem a hemorrhaging financial situation. This comes with the news that the city is $7 million in debt. Senior Activity Center Director Linda Love and City Building Inspector and Public Works Director Lynn Burch are the latest of these cuts. A public works position and a full-time mechanic position were cut earlier in 2012.
“We’re $7 million in debt and we don’t have any reserve,” Clay Mayor Charles Webster said. “By state law, you have to work with a three month reserve. We’ve been working without one.”
Webster hopes these cuts will at least allow the city to make its reserve requirement. According to the mayor, these cuts will allow the budget to match the city’s income.
“We’re looking at other ways to start bringing in revenue and bring business in to Clay,” Webster said. “It’s a pretty tough situation.”
Part of the problem, Webster said, was the roughly $500,000 the city paid for tornado cleanup. According to Webster, the city was unable to get any state or federal aid for cleanup. The state and federal relief funds are based on the amount of uninsured damage, and Clay did not meet the requirement, Webster said
“We want to do what we can without having to borrow money,” he said. “Within the next six months, we should start working on (at least making the three month reserve requirement). We are also looking at refinancing some of our debt we had. We are making $40,000 a month in debt payments, currently.”
The mayor said that he was not expecting any more cuts in the near future. Co-Assistant Directors Linda Plummer and Beth Petty will take over the Senior Center.
No activities will be cut at the Senior Center
“We are just trying to make sure we get our bills paid,” Webster said. “We want to let people know we are not closing down the Senior Center and we’ve just signed a contract with the county to keep it open.”
The mayor believes these job cuts will put the city on the road to recovery.