DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Dallas announced it is furloughing 500 of its employees.

“A furlough is a very difficult decision to make, but it is necessary to reduce our immediate staffing expenses. We will continue essential service for Dallas residents, while absorbing an estimated $25 million shortfall in the current fiscal year. The furlough does not impact essential positions or Dallas’ ability to deliver core services.”

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Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson had this to say about the furloughs: “The city manager notified the City Council of his decision on the furloughs this morning. Although I knew such measures were likely, my heart continues to break at the news of more economic pain for people in our city. Further difficulties may still be ahead as we face historic budget shortfalls caused by COVID-19. But I want to assure City of Dallas employees and the people of Dallas that I will continue to advocate for equity and fairness as we seek federal assistance and work to reduce our expenses while maintaining as many key services as possible.”

Empty restaurants and stores along with the rest of the coronavirus shutdown have slashed sales tax revenues in the city.

In an April memo to employees, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said he anticipated a $25 million shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year, and that the projected shortfall could jump to between $73 million and $134 million next fiscal year, starting October 1.

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Council Member Lee Kleinman said this year’s shortfall is big, but manageable. “I think we can make some adjustments through the end of the year that are workable. For next year, when we’re looking at as much as a $100 million shortfall, that’s going to be a lot harder because then you have to cut a lot deeper.”

On March 19, the city implemented a hiring freeze across all departments on non-essential positions.

Full-time employees continued to receive their full pay and benefits through May 4, four days later than first told.

Congress already voted to send $150 billion to state and local governments to help with coronavirus-related expenses.

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