Ruston makes cuts for financial stability, employee health

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RUSTON, LA (04/07/20) “In my five and a half years as mayor it’s the hardest decision I’ve had to make” said Mayor Ronny Walker, Mayor of Ruston.

This comes after the City of Ruston announced Monday that cuts will be coming due to decreased tax revenue from COVID-19.

The cuts were made to save the city money, as well as keep workers healthy. The city wants residents to know that services, while limited, with remain in operation. Employees will be working longer days despite the cuts to their hours.

“Let’s just call it crew A, will work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 10 hour days, so that’s 30 hours. The next crew will come in, crew B, Thursday, Friday Saturday” he said.

This includes trash pick up, sewer, water and electrical services. Employees will be able to file for unemployment as well during this tough time. City Hall will remain open as well, but with social distancing in mind. Residents will be able to turn in important utility-related paperwork, but at a distance.

“You fill that out in the lobby, and then you ring it up to one of our tellers that is on an outside window” he said.

Some projects, including phase II of the Sports Complex, have been put on hold, as the revenue needed for the project comes from sales tax. There will be a handful of projects continuing such as the new VFW hall and the Senior Center

“If they’re ongoing and the money was already dedicated for that, the money was already in place, we’re continuing” he said.

Employees that are still working will have their temperature checked daily, as well as keeping a distance from each other during this time. Mayor Walker says while this decision has been tough, its for the best interest of the city as a whole.

“I hope what our citizens see is one, their city is being very responsive to a national crisis, being proactive instead of reactive. And also the fact that we want to continue all the services that our citizens deserve” he said.

Mayor Walker says that the 90 day restriction is not a hard deadline, meaning that restrictions to employment and other city items could be lifted sooner if possible.

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