City of Pryor Considers Layoffs As Sales Tax Vote Nears

Sunday, July 23rd 2017, 6:14 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Jobs could be at stake in Pryor. All city employees received a letter explaining a possible "reduction in force."

While the city won't say how many jobs it might cut, it is warning each department of the potential for layoffs if the sales tax doesn't pass. 

The City of Pryor wants voters to decide if it should do something it hasn't done in decades; put more money into the general fund. 

"For 30 years they've managed to push forward. But now with the state of everything related to sales tax statewide, we're starting to feel those effects here," said Travis Noland, Pryor City Councilor. 

If the ¼ cent sales tax passes, the money would go toward police, fire, parks and cemetery, the library, city hall, animal control, municipal court, community development, and general reserves.

"What it means to the citizen, it means five cents on $20. It means a quarter on every $100 they spend," said Noland. 

In the last couple of weeks, two employees left the city. One at the library and the other, a janitor. 

City Councilor Travis Noland says those empty positions likely won't be filled. But that may not save enough money. 

A letter to employees says the city will "make every effort to find a way to minimize or perhaps avoid the necessity of the impending layoffs."

"The reality is we have to cut $265,000 out of the budget. If the sales tax is approved, that certainly changes the game," said Noland. 

Police Chief Dennis Nichols says losing even one officer would hurt his department. 

"It would impact our ability to respond. It'd make response times longer," said Nichols.

It's unclear how many layoffs the city is considering. 

"I would hate to say that at this point because a lot would change from now until the point that we have to make that final decision," said Noland. 

Voters will decide on the sales tax on August 8. If it passes, it will take effect in October. 

To read more about the sales tax, visit the city’s website.

Noland says he, along with other city councilors and the mayor will be available to answer questions about the sales tax at the “Press Pryor Forward” luncheon this Wednesday, July 26 at 11:30. For more information, click here.