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Eggleston proposes cuts to staff, council pay

As the months go by and the country remains under the grip of a global pandemic, it becomes clear that things have changed.

The coronavirus has spelled doom for businesses, employees, students and everyday citizens across this country and in other parts of the world. This crisis has ground the nation’s economy to a halt and it is apparent that drastic fiscal measures will be necessary in the future to help ease the crunch.

The Town of Farmville will not be spared when this rebound effort commences and steps need to be in place when restrictions are lifted and the country reboots itself. The town along with its employees and facilities will be asked to do their part in the recovery. I offer the following proposals to the Town Council as possible steps to help ease the economic burden the pandemic will have on our town.

First, I propose that the members of the Farmville Council, along with the mayor, forgo the honorariums received for service for the next fiscal year. I feel that this action will show the citizens of Farmville that its leaders are willing to step up first to help the economic woes the town will surely face. This may seem to some as a drastic measure. If I were a member of town council or the mayor, I would be willing to take this step as the honorarium is supplemental and not my primary source of income.

Secondly, I propose that all department heads of town services take a 10% pay cut. With the specter of drastic budget cuts looming on the horizon, we all realize that things as we knew them will cease. Modification of some services surely will be a reality while others may be eliminated altogether. Belt tightening should start at the top and modest pay cuts among department heads would be a step in the right direction.

Lastly, I propose that the Town of Farmville lease the Farmville Municipal Golf Course and seek a lease agreement with an outside party to handle operation and maintenance of the facility. I feel that the town stands to be in a better economic position shifting the costs associated with operating the course (staff, carts, course maintenance, etc.) to another party. An outside entity leasing the course will provide the Town of Farmville with a source of needed revenue in this time of economic uncertainty. By entering a lease agreement, the town would be receiving revenue from the operation of the facility and not expending funds for upkeep and maintenance necessary for a golf course. The revenue generated from such an agreement could then allow the council to allocate this new source of funds where needed.

I feel these modest proposals will lessen the load each of us will be carrying in the future. We all are going to have to make adjustments physically, socially, and economically. Let’s have our leaders lead by example by being the first to kick in.

We are all in this together.

CARL U. EGGLESTON is president of the Oliver & Eggleston Funeral Establishment. His email address is carlueggleston@gmail.com.