Morro Bay council members forgo 2020 stipends

Morro Bay City Council members have decided to forgo receiving their stipends for the remainder of 2020 and possibly the first half of 2021, as the city grapples with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak response.

Additionally, Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins and all of his department heads have voluntarily agreed to slash their pay, up to 8 percent each. The city announced the initial moves to reduce staffing costs as part of Morro Bay’s financial recovery plan, dubbed “Rock Solid Together.”

Other elements of the plan include a review of city operations; an immediate freeze on hiring and non-essential travel; making use of the city’s reserves; and seeking state and federal funds. 

In attempt to aid businesses, the council has approved deferring transient occupancy tax payments and waiving penalties for late payments for tidelands leases. Morro Bay officials say they are preparing for the worst-case scenario since the city has a tourist-driven economy. 

“Our community, business owners and their employees, and the city organization have made significant personal and economic sacrifices to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor John Headding said. “Those social distancing efforts, while disruptive and damaging economically, will save lives. We must also work together through the economic and financial recovery. In that spirit, my fellow city council members and myself will forgo our stipends for the remainder of this year and will assess waiving the entire next fiscal year soon.”

Collins said there will be a long and difficult road to recovery.

“The road to recovery will be difficult and long,” Collins said. “But we are committed to do what is necessary as a united city team to ensure we continue to put the health and safety of our community first, continue to provide essential city services and resources to our most vulnerable residents. Rock solid together.”

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