Local News

Roanoke Rapids to furlough employees as budget-fix

Posted February 28, 2009 12:30 p.m. EST

— Roanoke Rapids will furlough all its employees to help close a $664,000 budget shortfall, according to a statement issued by Mayor Drewery Beale Friday.

Beale said the employees will be furloughed "on a tier system to make it as equitable as possible." No more details of the furlough plan have been released.

At a meeting Friday morning, city councilors also decided eliminate some positions and reduce some line items from the budget. Those steps might result in reduced services, the mayor said.

"The City Council has worked diligently and at length to bring the budget where it should be and looked at all different aspects of the budget," Beale said.

City Manager Phyllis Lee said that while financial troubles with the Roanoke Rapids Theatre contributed to the budget problems, that certainly wasn't the only factor during economic times when many governments face shortfalls.

The city financed the $21.5 million theater, which has faced a number of challenges since opening in 2007, including poor ticket sales, a number of management issues and a contractual buyout of the theater's former namesake, country music singer Randy Parton.

First-quarter losses of more than $1 million played a role city officials' decision to raise property taxes 5 cents in July 2008.