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Seneca Falls lays off employees, cuts down Vince’s Park amid virus, SMI income slash

The Seneca Falls Town Board moved to lay off more than a dozen workers as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer communities across the region.

Even if caseload isn’t overwhelming, the looming financial threat that most communities will see has been enough to prompt some leaders to layoff non-essential employees, or cause them to reconsider certain services.

“I talked to SMI officials Tuesday about their first quarter payment. They said their revenue was down 50% because of the coronavirus,” Ferrara said during the meeting last week. For the first quarter, Seneca Falls’ share of a host community agreement will drop from $900,000 to $460,000. “I’m told that reduction will likely be the same for the second quarter and possibly for the entire year. We could use reserves to cover our budget, but that would lower our reserves which we plan to use when the landfill closes.”

Supervisor Ferrara proposed not opening Vince’s Park until things become clearer with the virus, and offered a number of layoffs in the meantime.

“I would like to consider laying them off temporarily. They would still keep their healthcare coverage and other benefits, paying their share of that cost as they do now,” Ferrara explained. “They would not lose their retirement rights or seniority rights. They can obtain unemployment. I don’t think they will be financially disadvantaged and the town can save some money.”

There have been well-documented issues with unemployment across the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo continued to field questions last week, as some who filed claims in March still had not been paid as of late-April within the unemployment system.

Councilman Doug Avery agreed. “I think we’ve got to do this,” he said.



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