Denison city employees briefed on budget situation

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DENISON, TX-The Denison city manager called all city employees for a meeting Thursday afternoon to give them a heads up on what to expect next year concerning their jobs.
Hundreds of Denison city employees, including firefighters and police officers, attended a closed meeting Thursday to discuss the city's budget; finding out how the cuts will affect them and how they can get ready for it.

"I feel good, at least I still have a job."

LaDonna Earley is one of the hundreds of Denison city employees who attended the budget meeting at the Snap center Thursday afternoon. Denison city manager, Robert Hanna, called the meeting to let employees know what to expect.

"To educate the employees on the kind of budget constraints we're facing for the next fiscal year. It's nothing really more than that, it's nothing any other community in Texas and the nation isn't facing right now. I just want to make sure the employees heard it from my lips," he said.

The City of Denison has a budget of about $30 million a year and Hanna said, because of this year's numerous severe weather events and multiple structure fires, they went over budget by more than a million dollars--mostly on fuel costs. Which means they will have to cut back.
Denison assistant fire chief, Bill Ray also attended the meeting and said the fire department is feeling the pinch because of fuel costs.

"It's eating to our budget. All the different departments have budgets and gasoline is part of that at it drains budgets pretty readily. On recourse, we have to go back to the city and ask for more money," he said.

Hanna also told employees that because of the budget cuts, they will not receive their annual pay raise, but will still have the same pay.

"My intent is to not have any furloughs or any reduction in pay. What I have told the employees on my recommended budget to the city council, I'm not recommending any pay increases. What they make today is what they'll make next year," he said.

He also said they are going to try their best to keep the effects minimal.
"We're not unique in this situation, people will see an impact. You can't not cut a million dollars out of the budget and not have a service impact, but we're going to try to minimize the impact in the citizens and the employees," he said.

At the end of June, Hanna will be meeting with the city employees' medical healthcare provider to figure out if they can make some changes to reduce operating costs and still have benefits.
Hanna will present next year's budget at the next city council meeting in July.

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