As COVID-19 continues to play out around the world, the Town of Edson has revealed they’ve had to make a number of difficult decisions required to help remain fiscally responsible to taxpayers.
During this time, Edson has had to temporarily lay off 18 employees. This includes lifeguards and some full time and part-time staff from recreation facilities and the ParentLink Centre.
Vacant positions are also not being filled at this time.
On top of the layoffs, all remaining staff are moving to a 0.9 schedule moving forward. This temporary measure will mean a reduction in hours, reducing wage expenses by about 10%.
“We understand this move will have a very big impact on Town staff,” said Mayor Kevin Zahara. “Council thanks them for their continued dedication during these tough times. It’s our hope that by making these moves now, we’ll be able to pass on some savings to our taxpayers and reduce further staff impacts in the future.”
“This crisis is taking a huge toll on our residents and businesses,” said Edson CAO Mike Derricott. “We understand the difficulties our community is facing, and we know it’s our responsibility to treat this pandemic, and the financial burdens it is creating, with the care and attention it deserves.”
While these moves have been supported by Council, they still require approval through the budget process. It’s expected some of these measures will be implemented at the April 7th, 2020 meeting of Council, with the larger budget discussions happening April 14th, 2020.
Administration has been working to come up with an emergency budget to bring forward. They anticipate further operational cuts to help reduce the tax burden, which will have service level impacts and will be discussed at the Council level.
“This isn’t a decision we take lightly,” concluded CAO Derricott. “We have made every effort to balance the needs of our organization, the taxpayers, and our staff. It’s hoped that these unprecedented moves will allow us the flexibility to assist our business community, keeping more people employed, and ensuring the Town of Edson remains viable into the future.”