by Morinville News Staff
Sturgeon County says it is reducing services and seasonal staff in response to the impact COVID-19 is having on operations. The decision followed a closed session of County Council Apr. 14 where Council looked at short and longer-term scenarios. Sturgeon County says the service and staffing adjustments will result in a $4.2 million expense reduction.
The County will move forward with a combination of immediate spending and service reductions they say recognizes the “uncertain and rapidly changing economic landscape” and to set what it sees as an appropriate tax rate Apr. 28th.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sturgeon County reduced staffing by 13 positions in decisions made last August and January of this year.
The County has put a hiring freeze in place and implemented an immediate discretionary spending reduction, including the suspension of 2020 staff travel, and reductions in the seasonal Transportation, Agriculture Services and Community Services Summer Programming.
“While these decisions are not easy for anyone, the health, safety and continued financial sustainability of the County remain our main priorities,” said Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw in a media release Friday. “I know this is difficult for all impacted seasonal staff. I also recognize this announcement will be unsettling for all County employees and I want to thank them on behalf of myself and Council for their ongoing efforts.”
The Sturgeon County reductions include:
• Reduction in gravel applications
• Reduction in roadside brushing
• Reduction in sign repairs
• Reduction in line painting, bridge maintenance & culvert repairs
• Reduction in county-wide mowing and trimming cycles
• A postponement of scheduled curb & gutter repairs
• A postponement of several 2020 budget enhancements
• A postponement of 2020 community summer programming.
Twenty-three seasonal Transportation and 13 Agricultural seasonal staff will not be hired, and those affected have been directed by the County to federal resources not available for seasonal workers.
Morinville announced Wednesday it was laying off some of it part-time, full time and seasonal staff temporarily as well. That story can be read here.