More city workers laid off Thursday

May 12, 2011 5:06:29 PM PDT
More layoff notices were handed out today to city of Houston employees. Hundreds of workers are being cut, as the city tries to close a budget shortfall. As a mom to two young children, Carrie Midani is a frequent visitor to Houston parks.

"Having young kids, I really thing that we use these facilities a lot and we want them to look beautiful for my kids and I want it to be pleasant," she said.

The city's parks aren't going anywhere, but soon, there will be far fewer city workers to maintain the city's golf courses, swimming pools and other facilities. Worker after worker showed up at the garden center Thursday, walking out with their layoff papers. Sources say between 100 and 200 people lost their jobs.

"I take it as a blessing in disguise," said laid off worker Dalton Delattibeaudiere. "Other people maybe not, but I'm good to go. Life goes on."

There was a similar situation at the Health Department, where pink slips went out to 84 workers.

"It is very sad," said spokesperson Kathy Barton with the Houston Health Department. "And every person here is important and they do an important job, so it will be a struggle for us to overcome this."

Barton says at least one health inspector was laid off, which means fewer restaurant inspections. The budget and staff cuts would also mean that not every swimming pool will open this summer. And the city could once again consider closing a golf course.

The latest round of layoffs would certainly affect city services, though exactly how much no one knows yet. Houstonians we talked to say it's tough, but admit there are few alternatives.

"I wish we didn't have to do it, but the budget being what it is, we've got to make up for the money somewhere," said concerned Houstonian Bill Sykes.

We also learned the Houston Fire Department laid off 14 civilians, which the fire chief says will save around $1 annually.

More city departments are expected to have layoffs on Friday. The final day city workers are expected to be laid off is next Tuesday.

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