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Editorial: Timing of city's decisions is disappointing

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Timing is important.

A few weeks ago we urged the Farmington city council to take action on a decision on whether to move its senior center into the building once occupied by city hall.

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To an extent, we're happy to have a decision. It's nice to know that building isn't going to sit empty indefinitely. Still, the city's decision came on a bad night.

Running the Rambling River Center in it's new, larger location is going to cost an estimated $42,000 more than the current location. Presumably the city will get something worthwhile for that investment, but it's perhaps not the best news to announce on the same night you decide to cut the hours -- and salaries -- of most city employees.

In an effort to trim its budget, the council on Monday voted to reduce the business day at city hall to 36 hours this summer. That means fewer hours for hourly employees and a 2.5 percent pay cut for salaried employees. The council also eliminated about half of the summer workforce it typically hires. Council members directed finance director Robin Roland to look for more cuts, too. Those cuts could include two or more jobs.

If we were one of those employees, we might be hard pressed to see the logic of taking on a new expense like the bigger senior center at the same time the city still finds itself looking for cuts to make. Or fees to add.

We like the Rambling River Center. The facility provides a good place for seniors to gather and good activities to help them stay active. But it has a home. And while the current Rambling River Center appears to be in need of repairs, so is the former city hall.

These are challenging times. Losing salary will hurt city employees. And while it's likely the city would have had to cut back its hours no matter what it did with the senior center, making both decisions on the same night is bound to be discouraging to the employees affected.

It's bad timing.

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