Hamburg sends out dozens of layoff notices

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)- Just weeks before Christmas, at least twenty nine Hamburg Town employees are receiving layoff notices.

The Town Board room was packed Monday night as Town Supervisor Steve Walters explained he and the two board members were forced to make drastic cuts because healthcare costs have suddenly jumped by thirty percent.

In the 2016 Town budget, approved unanimously last month,  five full time positions were eliminated, but it has a domino effect.

“You take one of my people, you’re affecting seventy.” said Highway Superintendent Tom Best, who notes that, under the union contract, no full timer can be laid off before all part timers are let go, so he had to send out layoff notices to all twenty seven part timers in the Buildings and Grounds and Highway Department, and that’s not even counting the forty summertime workers who may not be hired in the Recreation Department. “So, that means there’ll be no golf course, there’ll be no Town Park..These are all manned by part time people.”

Supervisor Walters the alternative was no easier. “We couldn’t say ‘we’re not gonna touch these departments and we’re gonna focus all of our layoffs in one department, because then you decimate a department. We took our biggest departments. Unfortunately, we had to spread it across those larger departments in order to effectuate those savings.”

Walters says his best hope for bringing some of those workers back is be negotiating with unions on a way to find more savings in healthcare costs.

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