HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township has reached an agreement with public unions to help address the extraordinary financial situation the Township faces as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Already facing a budget deficit left by the previous administration, the Township must address a significant budgetary hole caused by decreased revenues before it introduces its 2020 budget later this month. Public union leaders and Township administrators worked collaboratively in recent weeks to reach an agreement on a furlough proposal that will save the Township approximately $500,000 over the next two months. Union members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal late last week.
Under the approved agreement, Township employees earning less than $65,000 per year will have a furlough of two days per week for the next nine weeks. Furloughed employees will continue to receive their same level of health insurance and pension credits.
Under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, employees may qualify for additional unemployment benefits. The local Hamilton community will potentially realize an infusion of approximately $800,000 in federal monies from the FPUC program. This provision, along with other portions of the agreement, should prevent the Township from initiating any layoffs.
“This is obviously not something that we wanted to do, but it is a necessary step to ensure that we are in a solid financial position heading into 2021,” says Mayor Jeff Martin. “The provisions of the agreement will allow our employees to collect payments without losing any income.”
“I sincerely thank our collective bargaining unions for their continued partnership and understanding of shared sacrifices during these uncertain times. I also want to thank the residents in advance for their understanding as this may result in a temporary disruption in services.”
Uniformed police officers, emergency dispatchers, and Water Pollution Control (sewer) employees are exempt from the furlough, which began on Monday, June 1st.