Longboat Key Town Manager Bruce St. Denis laid off three employees in the Planning, Zoning and Building Department Tuesday, May 19, citing budgetary reasons and a lack of building-department revenue, according to town staff and commissioners.
Administrative assistant Angie Harmon and planners Butch Powell and Belton Wall were told of the decision at the end of the day Tuesday, according to Building Official Randy Fowler.
All three employees received eight weeks of severance pay.
Finance Director Tom Kelley said the layoffs would save the town a combined $200,000 for next year’s budget, which is currently being prepared and will be released Monday, June 1.
“A lack of activity in the building department, I believe, was the reason for the layoffs,” Kelley said.
St. Denis did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story.
Town staff is preparing for an anticipated $1 million shortfall in next year’s budget. The shortfall is a direct result of an anticipated 10% reduction in property values. The Manatee and Sarasota County property appraisers offices will release property-value numbers June 1.
Fowler is out of town at a building officials conference in Daytona and was made aware of St. Denis’ decision by Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Daigle.
The move means that only three building inspectors remain: Billy Perry, John Fernandez and Tony Supupo.
The decision, Fowler said, will adversely affect the level of service in the building department.
The Town Commission and St. Denis are expected to discuss the layoffs during a budget discussion at the 2 p.m. Thursday, May 21 regular workshop at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road.
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