WILKES-BARRE – A city official Friday said employees should know by early next week whether they will be paid in full or at all in the midst of an estimated $2 million revenue shortfall.
Payroll for the pay period of Dec. 21 will be submitted by departments on Monday, said Drew McLaughlin, administrative coordinator for the city.
In the following days the city will determine what cash is available and what the expenditures are for the week in order to determine if it can make payroll that averages between $550,000 and $600,000, he said.
I think by mid week we'll pretty much know if we'll hit that mark, McLaughlin said.
If the city cannot make payroll, it would defer payments until a later date, he added.
He was uncertain what penalties, interest and other costs would be added because of the late payments.
McLaughlin reiterated a statement by Mayor Tom Leighton who, months ago, warned about a payless payday or reduced paychecks. McLaughlin said it remains a possibility.
The issue arose out of the mess created by CENTAX, the company formerly contracted by Luzerne County to collect and distribute earned income taxes. The city has been receiving payments, but the slow pace led to the budget deficit.
At the beginning of the month the city reduced its workforce of 279 employees and temporarily laid off 11 firefighters and four Department of Public Works employees until the end of the year to make up for the revenue shortfall. Two other employees volunteered for furloughs and 12 employees retired.