Durham to cut 35 jobs in new budget

DURHAM According to a local newspaper, the proposed 2009-2010 budget keeps the property tax rate the same and cancels merit pay raises.

The budget also would reduce contributions to most employees' 401(k) retirement plans.

"I never thought the city would ever come to this. I've been there 20 years and it's been very stable," city employee Gail Sherron told Eyewitness News.

But she knows a recession waits for no one.

"Yesterday, we received a memo stating that there won't be any cost increases or pay increases anymore," she explained.

And after 20 years at city/county planning, Sherron and other tenured employees will have their longevity checks cut.

"It's sort of like a bonus that you get in December. I use it for my Christmas shopping," she said.

This year, the city will reduce it 300 dollars to the point where in time it will be phased out.

And Sherron says the economic slowdown has cut down the number of people coming in for services.

"We've always been very busy. We've always had work to do. But now is a different world and a different time," she said. "It doesn't look like it's going to turn around quick enough to where it can make an impact. There's a lot of businesses that are going under. A lot of surveying firms, a lot of engineering firms that I've dealt with for many years and they're going."

Sherron says she's saddened by all the cuts - but she doesn't think the situation will change anytime soon.

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