EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 3, 2013

Mayor: Shutdown will cut city services soon

Federal impasse not yet affecting other local towns

HAVERHILL — As many as eight city workers will be laid off or see their pay cut if the federal shutdown lasts for more than a few more days, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

Some of the workers will be furloughed — sent home with no work and no pay — while others will have their pay cut, Fiorentini said.

The mayor also said several programs for residents in the city’s poorest areas will be in jeopardy if the impasse in Washington goes on much longer. Those programs are paid for with federal Community Development Block Grant money, he said.

“It is an incredibly sad situation,” Fiorentini said of the shutdown. “I did not take office to inflict pain on good people and it will make me incredibly sad if I am forced to do this.”

The shutdown means the city can’t provide money to several charities in Haverhill that provide food, clothing and other essential items to poor people, the mayor said. He said several of these charities, including local food pantries, receive between $5,000 and $36,000 per year from the city’s grant money. The mayor said the city has stopped those payments already.

He also said the city won’t be able to provide heating assistance to low-income residents if the shutdown lasts. Federal money to pave and repair several streets and sidewalks has been frozen until the shutdown ends, he said.

Fiorentini said if the shutdown goes past a week, the eight city workers would be affected this way: Four would be laid off and four would be reduced to part-time. They are building inspectors and workers in the city’s community development office whose salaries are paid with federal Community Development Block Grant money, the mayor said. Haverhill receives the money because of its large number of low-income residents.

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