Laid-off worker rehired in village

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2000

COAL GROVE – One village employee has returned to work in Coal Grove after layoffs earlier this year.

Thursday, March 30, 2000

COAL GROVE – One village employee has returned to work in Coal Grove after layoffs earlier this year.

Email newsletter signup

"We hired one person back the first of March because it burdened us so much on reading the water meters," Mayor Tom McKnight said.

McKnight directed village administrator Mark Dean to lay off one general laborer and two water department employees in mid-January, citing budget restrictions.

The less-than-sufficient $140,000 general fund – hurt by less income tax revenue each year and a deficit in the police department fund – led to the "regretfully necessary" move, the mayor told council members in February.

But some council members cited the village’s $427,000 total budget as enough to keep the three employees and suggested looking for other ways to cut the budget.

Council member Ray Bentley said in February he also did not favor the layoffs because the village did not have enough people working in the first place.

One time, village officials did not have enough employees to handle a water break and direct traffic around the break at the same time, he said.

McKnight told the council that the three employees might return to work by mid-April if it became financially feasible.

The mayor asked the one employee to return early because cutting two water department employees put that department’s services in a bind, he said.

"It was especially hard when we had a water leak and meters to be read," he added.

The other two employees will remain laid off until there is a change in the village’s financial abilities, McKnight said.

"And as of right now, I don’t know of any change on those others," he said. "We’ll run a tight ship for a while and see what happens."

McKnight said he remains worried about budget problems, and has become even more worried because of the Ashland, Ky., 1 1/2 percent payroll tax on people who work in that city.

That could affect Coal Grove because village residents might not have to pay local taxes and the Ashland tax, too, he said.

"We will lose some tax money, just like Ironton, so there are still some unanswered questions about the village finances," McKnight said.

Also, there was a large increase March 1 in what the village pays for hospitalization benefits for village workers, he said.

Cost increases like that and other financial changes have wreaked havoc on the budget, he said.

McKnight said he would like to wait until first quarter taxes come into the village budget and to make sure the water and sewer department budgets are adequately funding themselves before revisiting the layoffs issue.

"We start a cleanup campaign the first of May – two weeks of a spring cleanup – so that would be a great time to have everyone back," he added. "I just don’t know if we will be able do it financially or not."

The Coal Grove Village Council will meet Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m. at village hall.