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Fort Worth to cut hundreds of positions

FORT WORTH — The city will eliminate hundreds of positions as it copes with a budget shortfall and a slowdown in tax revenue, City Manager Dale Fisseler said in a letter to employees Thursday.

"I am convinced that these budget cuts will require us to reduce the workforce by several hundred positions," Fisseler wrote. The letter went out with employees' paychecks Thursday.

No specific job cuts have been announced, and city officials said they're working to avoid having to lay people off.

Assistant City Manager Karen Montgomery said the city has left 226 positions open that are funded through the general fund, and could save $3.1 million by keeping them unfilled through the end of the fiscal year. The cuts could continue as the city begins writing next year's budget.

"I don't know if we're going to stop this process at the end of the fiscal year," Montgomery said.

The city announced in February that it has about a $14 million shortfall in its reserve fund, which functions like a household savings account, and that its expenses were growing faster than revenue. Rumors of job cuts have been drifting around City Hall for weeks.

The vacancies are spread across several departments, with police, fire and finance departments excluded, Montgomery said. Fort Worth has about 6,400 employees in all.

Marsha Anderson, vice president of the General Employees' Association, said it's important that "the letter doesn't say we're going to lay people off."

But she added that the city should do a better job managing the number of employees.

"That way we don't have to slam on the brakes," she said.

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