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Grass Valley Faces City Layoffs Amid Economic Crisis Caused By Coronavirus

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) - The city of Grass Valley is looking to make job cuts in order to maintain essential services in the midst of the impending economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

Like in most towns and cities across our area, Grass Valley's have been hit hard.

Grass Valley's city manager says this is the writing on the wall, and they needed to make job cuts.

"The timing is just terrible," said Rebekah Felipe.  She says it's depressing to see her town like this: closed until further notice.

"I'm mostly just scared for the businesses, there are so many new businesses I hope they're able to make it through this whole thing," said Felipe.

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Grass Valley City Manager Tim Kiser says the city will freeze seven unfilled positions, including one police officer and three firefighters.
They'll lay off four people if the resolution passes. He says he knows it's early, but calls it a proactive move.

"It is a reality and one of the hardest things you can do, whether you're a business owner or a government agency, laying off employees in a desperate time is a tough thing," said Kiser.

He says this is especially tough heading into the peak of the fire season.

"It is going to affect us with fire season coming up. We were hoping to staff-up, and we will be facing that as we move forward," said Kiser.

Unable to pay to a nearly $300,000 drop in general fund revenue, the city's budget calls for scaling back on what the city manager calls "non-essential services."

Financial expert and professor at Sacramento State, Dr. Sanjay Varshney, says no matter where you live, this will happen there too. He says most local governments will be hit with shrinking sales tax revenue in the coming months.

"They're going to see their revenues shrink and they've also had to provide services to the people they serve," he said.

Most towns have been through this before on a different scale in 2008, but this time Dr. Varshney is hopeful once the doors open back up, so will peoples' wallets.

"There's a lot of optimism that this too shall pass," said Varshney.

The projections are preliminary and will depend on when the shelter-in-place order is lifted.

The city council will vote on the resolution at their meeting Tuesday night.

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