Limerick Furloughs Workers, Facing Revenue Loss

LIMERICK PA – Several Limerick Township employees have been temporarily furloughed, “many others” have had work hours reduced, and the township has initiated other “operational cuts” representing a potential savings of $750,000, all to deal with what it currently predicts will be a loss of about $1.1 million in revenue related to the coronavirus pandemic, Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Neafcy reports.

“All staffing reductions are short-term in nature, and limited to non-life essential personnel,” Neafcy wrote in a May 21 (2020; Thursday) message that now appears on the township website. “These reductions did not affect the police force, public works, code enforcement, Fire Marshal, and Emergency Management Officer,” he added. “All remain at optimum staffing levels and ready to answer all calls for service.”

But supervisors remain sensitive to the needs of those furloughed and their families, Neafcy said. The township is continuing their health benefits for the duration of the layoffs.

Neafcy acknowledged that in Limerick as elsewhere the pandemic and measures taken to control spread of the virus – business lock-downs, residents’ stay-at-home orders, and the closing of schools among them – have led to “rising unemployment and reduced business activity” in the township. Collection of taxes, fees, and other income that sustains its budget are anticipated to be hit as a result.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Neafcy noted, “the Limerick business community was thriving and expanding due to a robust economy.” It provided “jobs, goods and services to so many,” as well as contributing to the tax base. As the virus spread worsened and public health safety measures kicked in, however, businesses – “especially small and family-run operations” – struggled with the shut-down and accompanying revenue losses, he observed.

Another casualty of the pandemic will be the township’s popular summer camp program. It’s been canceled, Neafcy wrote, “with the realization that social distancing guidelines will be in effect for Montgomery County for several more weeks.” More than 300 children were expected to participate in events and programs planned for the vacation period. Now the township must “look forward to its return” in Summer 2021, he said.

Also canceled, at least through August, were “all recreational programs (and) field and pavilion rentals,” he said. The township has begun the process of refunding all camp and registration fees, and Neafcy asked for public “patience in receiving the refunds.” Those awaiting refunds who do not hear from the township staff within coming weeks should contact Director Angela Russell by e-mail at angelar@limerickpa.org to check its status.

“Cuts of this nature are never easy,” Neafcy conceded, but supervisors are “confident these short-term measures will enable the township to address the financial challenges of the COVID crisis without the need to deplete capital reserve funds or increase taxes.”