FARMINGTON — A fire chief, museum curator, park ranger, streets laborer, code compliance officer, some secretaries and aides are among the 60 jobs the city will cut to reduce spending by $3.3 million.

The city has cut 26 positions through attrition and plans to cut more positions as people vacate them, according to the city. The city wants to cut its work force by 10 percent, and predicts it will save more than $2 million through the job cuts this year, City Manager Rob Mayes said.

The city may cut some positions permanently to save more than $4 million every year for the next five years, Mayes said.

The cuts are a part of steps to address a projected $4.2 million decline in gross receipts tax revenue, which funds most of the city's general fund. That $50.1 million general fund provides money for road work, park improvements, police and fire departments, the library, building and vehicle maintenance, municipal court, employee earnings and benefits and other programs.

The cuts come as unemployment in the Farmington area rose to 8.2 percent in July from 4.7 percent the same time last year, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Residents will experience "minimal impacts" to city services despite the cuts, Mayes previously said.

An average of 90 people left city jobs each year during the past three years. The city doesn't know which positions will become vacant, but Mayes will determine whether jobs should be cut as people leave them this budget year.


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Other employees will assume duties of the vacated positions.

"The key is to have plenty of time to implement it in a proactive way to reorganize and retrain people as we go to minimize any disruption in services to the public," he said.

Fire chief cut

The city will rehire essential positions such as police officers, firefighters and the airport manager.

However, the city won't rehire for the position of administrative battalion chief of the Farmington Fire Department.

Mayes said the battalion chief was an administrator and the city would evaluate closely whether to rehire the position when the economy recovers.

"We're not taking any firemen off the street or any police officers off the street, period," Mayes said.

The battalion chief, who retired, was responsible for supervising fire marshals and the fire prevention part of the department, Farmington Fire Chief Troy Brown said. The battalion chief, worked closely with the public and developers.

"It's going to be difficult," Brown said.

Brown and other fire chiefs will pick up slack, he said. Brown added that he thinks attrition job cuts beat layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts, which the city considered before it decided to cut vacated positions.

"I think it's very viable right now," he said. "It seems to be working."

The city listed two Farmington Police Department positions as being cut, according to documents. Mayes explained the city mistakenly budgeted those positions after they were cut in the past.

Funds for a records technician whose position was cut were shifted to fund hiring an additional crime scene investigator, Mayes said. Funds also were shifted from a secretary, whose position was cut to hire a records technician.

The police department has not lost any employees from budget cuts, Farmington Police Chief Jim Runnels said.

Cuts hit parks, library

City departments and divisions facing job cuts also include the Farmington Public Library; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Human Resources; General Services and Community Development.

The library lost a computer technician, a library technician and a custodian. The parks department lost two Farmington Civic Center technicians, a civic center facilities technician supervisor, park ranger, Sycamore Park Community Center secretary, parks maintenance foreman and museum curator.

"They're all losses because in a lot those cases, that's the only person doing that job," said Jeff Bowman, parks department director.

The loss of a curator means increased work loads for several museum staffers, Farmington Museum Director Bart Wilsey said.

"Everybody just kind of pitches in and does what they can to get the job done," Wilsey said.

Other city cuts

Other cuts to the city's budget include $250,000 from the San Juan County Detention Facility, though the city is spending more on the jail than it did last fiscal year.

The city will hire a collection agency to collect unpaid civil court fines to raise some revenue.

"It's not fair to the people that have paid their fines for people to get away with not paying fines," Mayes said.

Cuts also include reduced spending on travel and cell phones and eliminating the long-time policy of take-home cars for city leaders.

City leaders, including Mayes, previously commuted in cars provided by the city and brought them to their homes in case they had city business to conduct while on-call, Mayes said.

Steve Lynn:

slynn@daily-times.com