KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The pandemic hit the Unified Government’s budget hard, and now leaders are requiring most employees to take a 10-day furlough to make up for the loss.
In a statement, county spokesman Dave Reno said the health crisis cost the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, more than $23 million in revenue this year and an estimated $18 million in 2021.
The county attributes the shortfalls to drops in sales and gas tax collections during the shutdown.
Leaders are cutting nearly $22 million from the 2020 budget, according to the county’s statement, but they’re still left with more than $2 million to make up.
That’s why County Administrator Doug Bach is ordering a mandatory 10-day furlough program for most UG employees.
Police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters/EMS and public safety dispatchers are exempt from the mandatory furloughs.
“While I was trying to avoid impacts on employees by reducing spending in many areas, it has become clear that part of our financial solution will come at the expense of employee salaries,” Bach wrote in a memo to employees.
“This decision does not come lightly. We are going to move quickly so that employees can take advantage of the federal unemployment benefits that add an additional $600 to the state weekly unemployment payment.”
That additional $600 runs out at the end of July, though, so UG leaders are encouraging employees to take their 10 furlough days over the next six weeks. Through the plan, employees will work three days a week and then take two furlough days, the county said.