The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc with government budgets all over the world and it is hitting the budget for the City of El Paso like a brick wall. Because of the budget shortfall in the wake of handling the coronavirus outbreak in El Paso, City leaders announced a massive furlough of employees and a pay cut for other employees.

City officials say top executives in the City, including City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and City Attorney Karla Nieman will take a 5 percent cut to their annual salaries. Employees classified as EX 3, 4, 5, and employees on the Legal Pay Scale will see a 2 percent cut in their annual pay. Non-uniformed employees will take a 1 percent cut in their pay. The temporary pay reduction of 1 percent is the equivalent of a 1 percent pay raise employees got on March 1, of this year. The pay cuts will start on May 24. Police officers and firefighters won’t be affected because of their collective-bargaining agreements. A two-week furlough of 450 employees will save the City $415,000, which isn't much when we are facing a $26 million budget hole for the current fiscal year and a $60 million smack in the face next fiscal year.

Because there are a lot of businesses that were forced to close, there is a loss of tax revenue due to those closures, but because many may not be able to weather the coronavirus storm, it's likely many will never reopen which will also cause a loss of future tax revenue. City officials say in addition to pay cuts and furloughs they are also working on slowing down or suspending other projects in order to help save money.

This isn't the last time the budget will have to be addressed. We'll keep an eye on this story and keep you up-to-date on your tax dollars.

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