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Hoschton City Hall workers face weekly furlough days
Move to close city hall on Fridays expected to save $270K a year
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Hoschton City Hall

The new hours at Hoschton City Hall are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Residents who need to turn in a bill while the office is closed can put it through the slot on the front door of the building or drop it in the drop box mailbox by city hall.

For more information: Contact City Clerk Kristen Mahan at 706-654-3034 or kmahan@cityofhoschton.com.

HOSCHTON — Employees at Hoschton City Hall will be facing a four-day work week when the city implements a one-day-a-week furlough plan projected to save about $270,000 annually.

Mayor Bill Copenhaver and City Clerk Kristen Mahan met with employees Wednesday to inform them of the new furlough plan, which has reduced the seven employees from a 40-hour work week to a 32-hour work week. The move that will save the city about $5,168 per week.

"I was very impressed with their acceptance and understanding of the necessity to do this," Mahan said. "The council and the mayor are doing everything possible to make sure employees maintain a job. We’re furloughing seven employees and there were no jobs cut, and you don’t see that right now in every city."

Specifically, the employees affected include Mahan, City Planner Wistar Harmon, Wastewater/Water Plant Operator Johnny Hill, Court Clerk Teresa Heath, Assistant Clerk Karen Butler, Assistant Plant Operator Chad Orr and Plant Technician Donald Bogel. The salaried employees — Mahan, Harmon and Hill — will remain on salary but their pay will be decreased to reflect the new 32-hour work week, Mahan said.

All seven employees will have their mandatory furlough days on Fridays, when city hall will be closed.

"We have decided that the best way to make that (furlough) have as much impact as possible in terms of saving money is to have it on
Fridays rather than staggering the employees. It will also save with utilities, expenses and everything like that since the lights will be off and the building will be closed," Mahan added.

The move comes a few months after the city decided to forgo employees’ compensation for insurance costs, which averaged $525 per person.

The furlough days don’t impact the police department, the mayor or the six-member city council. However, to adapt to the economic downturn, the mayor and council approved a resolution in December 2008 to forgo their 2008 and 2009 stipends for serving in those official capacities. The money the mayor and council would have received for their work in 2008 was instead evenly distributed as a one-time $265 bonus to the eight hourly employees on the payroll, Mahan said.

"Everybody is doing their part. We’re doing everything we can think of to weather the economic storm," Mahan said.

With city hall closed every Friday, residents will be able to drop off payment for water, sewer and garbage bills in a slot in the front door of the building or in the dropbox outside city hall.

And Mahan said she’ll be looking for residents to comment on how the city’s new hours are impacting them.

"It’s going to affect the way we run things because if someone comes to city hall on a Friday, it will be as if it’s Saturday or Sunday," Mahan said. "It will certainly change things as far as the effect the citizens feel, and I look forward to their input in letting me know if it is creating undue inconvenience. I will be able to see the impact regarding our finances, but they’re going to have to let me know how they think it has affected the service level."

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