The City of Las Vegas to Close for 1 Week - 8 News NOW

The City of Las Vegas to Close for 1 Week

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LAS VEGAS -- The City of Las Vegas is facing a $47 million shortfall. So city offices will be closed for a week during the holidays and employee's hours will be cut starting in January.

The city employee's union overwhelmingly agreed to the cost-saving measure because they say the other option would be layoffs. It is tough to take a pay cut in these times, but employees say at least they still have a job.

About 1,800 employees are taking a 5 percent pay cut and having all other raises frozen for the next two and a half years.

The Las Vegas City Employees Association says it didn't have to do anything, but made the sacrifices needed to help the city.

"Our goal was to preserve jobs, so therefore, we negotiated a package we thought benefited the city when it needed it the most," said LVCEA Vice President Val Sharp.

As part of the agreement, city employees will take the last week of the year with no pay and starting January 9, 2011, will work a new 38-hour four day work week. They will not give up annual step increases, cost of living adjustments and longevity pay. It will just be postponed for two-and-a-half years.

The city says concessions from there employee unions will cut the shortfall from $47 million to $12 million.

City Manager Betsy Fretwell says the goal is to save money but sustain services. "We're adjusting and we're trying to create a much more sustainable relationship and employment arrangement with our employees that our local economy can support and still keep our services strong," she said.

Public safety services like fire and rescue, the city marshal service, the jail and sewage plant will not be affected by the agreement. Other sectors like leisure services will stagger work schedules to stay open throughout the week, but employees will still only work 38-hours each.

Employees say the cuts could mean hundreds of dollars less in take-home pay depending on how much a person makes. They will still be able to pay the bills, but the furloughs will mean there will no longer be extra money for things like entertainment.

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