Unlike many private industries during the first two months of a “safer-at-home” order and business closures, the city of Madison has been among the local government entities that have so far avoided cutting workers’ hours.

In an email Tuesday to the city’s some 2,900 employees, Rhodes-Conway said that is likely to change.

In addition to the budget gap this year, the city is anticipating a shortfall “of at least that much again for 2021,” she said. “We have instituted spending controls and a hiring freeze, and are examining other options for 2020, including targeted use of the Work-Share program and furloughs.”

As with any other local government, the vast majority of Madison’s costs are worker salaries and benefits. City budget officials estimate that with the daily cost of paying employee salaries at about $800,000, a furlough program of between four and seven days could save between $4 million and $5 million.