The Belleville City Council voted Friday to lay off or furlough more than 50 city employees.
In a video posted to the city’s Facebook page, Mayor Mark Eckert called the special meeting “one of the most difficult I’ve had to preside over” but necessary in the face of plummeting revenue caused by closures related to the coronavirus.
Eckert said “approximately” 53 employees, mostly full-time, were being laid off or furloughed across multiple departments. The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the number included two police officers and four firefighters.
The furloughs should be temporary, Eckert said, with the aim of getting employees back to work in less than six months. Belleville is expected to see a drop of almost $1.5 million in revenue, mostly from lost sales tax, by Labor Day.
The council’s vote was unanimous, Eckert said. “We’re going to be in a really bad way if we don’t take some action,” he said in the video.
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