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Kent cuts staff after facing $15 million budget shortfall

A number of Western Washington cities have announced cuts, citing lost revenue caused by the coronavirus crisis.

KENT, Wash. — Cities across the state are facing money problems as coronavirus restrictions cause revenue to drop. 

Kent is the latest city in Western Washington to lay off employees in order to stay afloat as a result of lost sales and business taxes due to COVID-19.  

"I've talked to a lot of the mayors in King County and everybody's facing budget cuts," said Mayor Dana Ralph.

Kent is facing a $15.7 million dollar budget shortfall. 

Mercer Island is laying off more than 60 employees. Issaquah is also planning layoffs and furloughs to make up for a $10 million budget deficit.

In a memo sent to Kent city employees, Ralph laid out the city's plan to cut costs.

Part of that plan will move $5 million from the city's general fund to help cover the lost revenue. 

"It's significant, and as a result, we've had to go through everything in our budget and make some really tough decisions about what we cut and what we no longer do," Ralph said.

Eleven city employees were notified their positions were being eliminated. 

"We've also had to furlough most all of our recreation staff given the stay home stay healthy order. We are not doing any summer programming," said Ralph.

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