Local Politics

Durham budget cuts could include 35 jobs

Posted May 13, 2009

— Thirty-five city workers would lose their jobs under a budget proposed by Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield.

Bonfield's plan, which he is expected to present to the City Council next week, also would hold Durham's property tax rate at 54 cents per $100 valuation.

“This budget reflects ‘community priorities,’ which was the guiding principle for developing this year’s budget,” Bonfield said in a statement. “Fortunately, even with this year’s tough economy, the administration was able to meet those priorities, including public safety, providing quality core services, neighborhood revitalization, capital project delivery and youth programs.”

The draft budget calls for eliminating 113 city jobs, however, including 78 that are vacant. Bonfield said the city is trying to place some of the 35 people slated to lose their jobs in other positions.

No specific numbers have been released yet, but Bonfield said spending would be slashed to remain in line with lower sales tax revenue and less money from the state.

The cutbacks include withholding merit raises for city workers and cutting contributions to their retirement plans, scaling back some programs that aren't used a lot and using federal stimulus money for some capital projects and for Durham Area Transit Authority buses.


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  • whatusay May 13, 2009

    They want to hire 78 and eliminate 35, but the 35 can take jobs in areas of the 78. This must be a joke....just put the 35 in other jobs and hire 43 and don't make a political statement in hopes someone will think you are intelligent.

  • elyhim2 May 13, 2009

    117 jobs are being eliminated, 35 are already notified. Most of the positions are unfilled positions. The plan requires a cut to the 401k fund and no raises for anyone but Police and Fire. It also includes a 7% healthcare hike and after the deductible the employee will have to pay 10% of the total cost. Water & Sewer is the only department not funded by the taxpayer. It's time for National Healthcare, the city and employees pay almost $1000 a month for insurance, I do not believe that national healthcare would even come close to that as a tax. The costs are included in the benefit package which is traditionally why public jobs pay less than private sector which also has to do with quality employee retention. You cannot balance the budget on the backs of the employees. Seems like there are more bussinesses open than last year, only housing has slowed and with it the requirement to produce more service.

  • Raleigh Boys May 13, 2009

    Guide on what to do if you are one of the 35 employees about to get the rif -


  • TheAdmiral May 13, 2009

    Good - a job for the sake of a job is a drain on taxpayers.

  • Raleigh Boys May 13, 2009

    Durham, city of crime, is only going to get worse with all the unemployment. Lock your doors, windows, or better yet, move out of Durham while you still can.

  • scientistjo May 13, 2009

    Let's not forget the 300-400 jobs being cut out of the schools in Durham county...250 of which are teachers. Thirty-five sounds like a walk in the park compared to that!

  • Americas Bravest May 13, 2009

    In response to the comment about what money does the fire department generate, money is generated thru fire inspection fees and also fees for false fire alarms that go into the city's general fund. That is the fire prevention side of the house, our responsibilty is to save lives and property and that will never, ever change. I hope that informs you.

  • ghimmy51 May 13, 2009

    What would you like to bet all 35 jobs are people who actually work for a living? Further; I bet all 35 together are paid less than the city manager. Funny how the little guy doesn't count even in numbers as much as one wheel.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 13, 2009

    Personally, in a bad economic time, it sounds like Tom Bonfield has come up with a budget that holds the line and causes as little joblessness as possible. It was said they hoped to assist the ones let go to find another position in Town Government. But most probably will not we working for Durham. Unless they lose 35 people due to normal attrition, it won't happen. Sounds like a solid budget for the times we are in.

  • seankelly15 May 13, 2009

    NCcarguy - Please do not use the money generation mantra. What money do fire departments generate, what money do schools generate? Does the police department have fines and seizures that would cover the cost of the police? Private businesses function to make a profit; workers are laid off to maintain that profit. Businesses could keep employees and produce the product or services but it would cut into the owner’s profits. Please do not make it seem that business doesn’t have a choice – they do, they just choose to maintain their profitability (I am not disagreeing with this principle). My point is that irrespective of the business world, cities are obligated to provide certain services – they don’t have the luxury of simply removing staff that YOU do not think are valuable.