The City of Monterey has announced plans to lay off 84 city employees as a result of a dramatic decline in city revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A very somber Monterey City Manager, Hans Uslar, said the proposed layoffs still must be approved by Monterey City Council at its April 21st meeting. If approved, the layoffs would take effect June 1st. The affected employees work in areas largely shut down by state and county orders to shelter-in-place. Those areas include community centers, library, the Sports Center and Convention Center.
During a media briefing Thursday, a shaken Uslar talked about how difficult it was to inform the employees.
“This was a hard decision in the making and it was a tough, tough, tough telephone conference call," Uslar said.
The city has announced a projected $10 million decline in tax revenue from mid-March through the end of June. The losses are mainly due to declines in hotel and sales taxes. Uslar added Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to slowly restart the state’s economy also played a role in the decision.
“Frankly, we don't know when we have businesses opening again. And when those opening of businesses translates also into revenues for the city of Monterey," he said.
The city has around 450 active employees. No police officers, firefighters or emergency responders are involved in the layoffs. Uslar said the priority is to make sure public safety is fully functional and staffed. And the hope is that once the economy rebounds, they’ll be able to bring these employees back.