Renton City Hall. File photo

Renton City Hall. File photo

Renton cuts costs, furloughs staff due to COVID-19

City is trying to recover some of the nearly $22.5 million it will lose in revenue from shutdown.

Renton is trying to recover a portion of the estimated $22.5 million in revenue that it’s losing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is using a series of partial furloughs and is exploring an incentive program that gives long-term employees health insurance for 18 months at no cost if they quit.

Mayor Armondo Pavone commented on the work to reduce expenses in his May 19 COVID-19 Newsletter, thanking the employees that have had to furlough hours.

“Implementing the program was through the combined efforts of our city administrators and affiliated unions,” Pavone said in a newsletter. “During this time of budget tightening across the city, it’s a real win-win for those involved.”

About 200 employees are working on reduced hours until July 25, with 10 percent to 50 percent of their hours cut while retaining benefits to qualify for the Shared Work Program— a state employment security division program that fills the gap in hours with unemployment pay and the $600 weekly bonus from the CARES Act. The furloughs will save the city an estimated $642,000. Police officers are not affected.

The city is reducing discretionary spending and overtime, delaying hiring for vacant positions and eliminating travel and training expenses. City departments identified capital projects to be cancelled or delayed, saving a $3.9 million. As of this posting, the Reporter is tracking down which projects these cuts will affect.

The city’s equipment purchases are being postponed, saving $1.2 million. Renton is also taking $3.6 million in fund reserves and using it to supplement the 2020 budget.

The separation incentive program allows employees who have worked with the city for at least two years to leave their position, but retain 18 months of COBRA healthcare — commonly offered to workers who lose their health benefits — at no cost. Because it would be a voluntary separation, that employee would not receive unemployment benefits. The city would then hold the positions vacant to save money.

The separation incentive has not been approved yet. It will be brought to Renton City Council for approval on June 1.

Council President Ruth Pérez said it has been incredible how city employees have responded in this time of crisis, first working from home and now participating in the shared work program while keeping consistent customer service.

“I thank every city employee for their willingness to step in and help to reduce expenses. I’m extremely proud of them and I really appreciate their commitment to keep providing a high level of service for our residents during this pandemic,” Pérez said.

The city will also receive federal aid from the CARES Act for $3.14 million, King County Economic Development Relief Program at $165,890, and be able to support the community with block grants for business recovery at $450,000.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

File photo.
Mysterious in-home deaths of father, two daughters ruled as starvation

Written materials about fasting were found in the home; the father’s death called a suicide.

Dr. Faisal Khan. Courtesy of King County.
Dr. Faisal Khan appointed as next King County health director

Dennis Worsham will continue to serve as interim director until September 6.

Tsr
Renton spa employee accused of trying to coerce woman into prostitution, posing nude

Quyen T. Nguyen, 39, has been accused of attempted promotion of prostitution… Continue reading

Teaser
King County experts discuss extreme heat mitigation plan

The plan includes improving infrastructure and communications to prevent future disasters.

T
Public art call for South King County transit corridor

Deadline is July 13 for artists to apply to have their work in new RapidRide expansion.

Construction at Lindbergh High School is expected to last from summer 2022 to spring 2024. Image courtesy of Renton School District.
Lindbergh High School construction begins in July, will continue until 2024

The preparation phase for construction at the high school started in March 2021.

Courtesy of the Renton School District.
Renton welcomes three new principals to the school district

The principals will lead Benson Hill Elementary School, Talley High School and Hazen High School.

File photo.
Renton officials remind community of fireworks ban ahead of July 4

County has also banned the sale and discharge of fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county.

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterburg (File Photo)
King County Prosecuting Attorney vows to protect reproductive freedom

Dan Satterberg joins over 80 prosecutors from around the country in their pledge.

Most Read