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BLOOMFIELD — The positions of six full-time and two part-time city employees are being cut in an effort to help Bloomfield balance its budget as the city struggles with declines in tax revenue.

The Bloomfield City Council voted to cut the city’s general fund budget for the current fiscal year by about $180,000 during a special meeting tonight.

Brad Ellsworth, the city’s finance director, said the reduction would decrease the city’s general fund budget from about $6.2 million to about $6 million.

Earlier this year, the preliminary budget approved by councilors was about $6.8 million. It was cut to about $6.2 million when the final budget was approved in August, Ellsworth said.

Three full-time positions in the city’s Parks and Recreation department, along with one full-time and two part-time positions in the Cultural Services department, were eliminated, according to City Manager Eric Strahl.

A full-time position in the Municipal Operations Center — which includes the Public Works department — and a full-time position in the Utilities department were also cut.

One of the two part-time positions in the Cultural Services department was vacant when it was eliminated. The cuts could ultimately save the city about $523,000 if they carry into the next fiscal year, Ellsworth said.

Strahl said the cuts were made to minimize the number of employees laid off while trying to maintain the current level of services the city is providing to its residents. He said city administrators and councilors worked hard to avoid layoffs, but the decline in gross receipts tax revenue has been a struggle. The GRT revenue is down about $270,000 for the first three months of the current fiscal year compared to what was projected in the budget.

Ellsworth said the city is projecting a $750,000 decrease in GRT revenue for the rest of the current fiscal year.

Bloomfield has made other attempts to balance its budget, including a 3.46 percent pay cut for all city employees, reducing the hours of operation for the Bloomfield Aquatic Center and canceling its contract with the city of Farmington for a Red Apple Transit bus route.

The budget cut was previously projected to be about $475,000, but as the resolution was refined, the figure changed, according to Strahl. He said the additional revenue projected from the tax increase approved by Bloomfield residents last year helped reduce the budget cut.

The increase to the city’s GRT rate of 1/4 of 1 percent that was approved during an Aug. 16 special election could bring in about $420,000 in annual revenue, Ellsworth said.

The tax goes into effect on Jan. 1, and the city will start to see the additional money from the tax in March.

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

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