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Bettendorf: No layoffs so far

Bettendorf: No layoffs so far

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The city of Bettendorf has not had to lay off any employees because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that could change in May, depending on what Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds decides to do about opening the state back up to more activities, City Administrator Decker Ploehn said Wednesday.

At present, the city's library, Family Museum and Life Fitness and Community centers are closed to the public, but employees have been busy creating online programming at all but the Community Center and doing deep-cleaning and some remodeling and painting, depending on the location, Ploehn said.

Every room in the Community Center, for example, has been repainted — "it looks brand-new," Ploehn said — and the Family Museum's "Think Tank" has been moved upstairs. The latter was a job the city had considered bidding out but, because of the closure, could do in-house. Cleaning at the Fitness Center has extended to lights and fans. 

But as those sorts of tasks get completed and the city continues to lose revenue because those places aren't open to the public, the city will have to decide "how long we can continue in the current mode," Ploehn said.

When the pandemic began, the city's goal was to try to keep as many employees on the payroll as possible, but "we know that that is not sustainable without opening back up or having some revenue sources," he said.

• A breakdown:  

The city employs a total of 197 full- and part-time people among the library, museum, Palmer Hills Golf Course (including the clubhouse and grill), the Life Fitness and Community centers and parks maintenance and programs.

Of those, 119 are working at their buildings or from home, 11 are sheltering in place and 67 are voluntarily not working. Of the latter, 66 are part-time and many are retirees whose work averages around 10 hours a week, Ploehn explained.

These sheltering in place were guaranteed 80 hours under the federal emergency COVID-19 leave program. After that they were able to use vacation time or file for unemployment, Kathleen Richlen, human resources director, said. 

• About the pool: 

Whether the Splash Landing Aquatic Center will open this summer is unknown. At present, the city is proceeding as though it will, hiring some seasonal staff and getting pumps and compressors tuned up. A decision should be made by May 15, Ploehn said.

• Declining revenue: 

City finance director Jason Schadt has estimated the city will lose $1,192,060 in revenue because of the closed facilities, assuming they aren't able to open until July 1.

That includes the Lift Fitness and Community centers, Family Museum, Splash Landing, recreation programs and the Palmer Hill Golf Course and Grill.

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