ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The state and cities across New Mexico are facing massive budget shortfalls because of the coronavirus pandemic. The drop in oil prices and gross receipt taxes have municipalities scrambling to cover the shortfall.

“There is no involuntary layoffs that we are going to have to do,” said City Manager Joe Neeb. The City of Roswell is having to make up a $31 million budget deficit because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Neeb said they will not be laying anyone off or cutting public services.

“And the nice thing we tried to do with this budget is we actually not eliminated any services,” said Neeb. To cut the $31 million from the budget, the city worked with 35 employees to offer early retirement.

Those open positions will not be replaced. They are restructuring current employees’ duties, which will leave fewer people to run the zoo or museum.

“The challenge will be is that we may not be able to open seven days a week, we may have different hours for different types of services, that’s going to be the biggest change,” said Neeb.

Neeb said they will also start allowing the zoo and museum to charge visitors a small fee into those attractions. Neeb hopes that will make both facilities self sufficient. What is the small entrance going to be? The city has not decided on an amount. “But nobody lost their job because of this reduction,” said Neeb.

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