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FARMINGTON — The city of Bloomfield is preparing to lay off a number of employees next week to reduce its budget as revenue from the gross receipts tax continues to decline.

Bloomfield city councilors are scheduled to vote on reducing the city’s general fund budget for the 2016-2017 financial year by about $475,000 during a special meeting Wednesday evening.

The nearly half-million-dollar budget cut could eliminate the equivalent of six full-time employees, according to City Manager Eric Strahl.

Citing legal concerns, Strahl declined to comment on how many part- or full-time positions would be cut and what departments would be affected. The details regarding the layoffs will be released after the councilors have voted to approve the budget cut Wednesday evening.

The general fund pays for all city of Bloomfield services with the exception of water, wastewater and waste collection services contracted through Waste Transit.

“It’s terrible. It’s gut wrenching,” Mayor Scott Eckstein said about the layoffs.

Eckstein cited several efforts the city has made to reduce its budget, including canceling the city’s contract with the city of Farmington to subsidize a Red Apple Transit bus route and a 3.46 percent pay cut for all city employees.

But Bloomfield continues to see a drop in gross receipts tax revenue, and the layoffs are part of the city’s plan to maintain a balanced budget, Eckstein said.

“We have to tighten up a little bit more,” Eckstein said.

The GRT revenue is down about $270,000 for the first three months from the amount that city officials budgeted for, Strahl said.

Councilors Eckstein and Strahl discussed ways to reduce the city's budget, including the layoffs, during a special work session held on Wednesday.

Strahl said the goal of the possible layoffs is to minimize the impact to the services the city operates.

The reductions could help the city save about $1.11 million in expenses if they remain in place until the next fiscal year, according to Strahl.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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