Owner Marion Santos told Action News the decision to leave Firebaugh was a difficult one, but the consolidation was something Ford had wanted for a number of years. The 25 employees have been invited to work at the other dealership about 30 miles away.
While those jobs are being absorbed, the city is expecting a significant decrease in tax revenues. "We already have a hurting general fund budget and now to hear that they'll be closing, it's devastating to us. It equates to approximately $77,000 that would have gone directly to our general fund budget," said city manager Laura Weyant.
Weyant said the city is looking at ways to cut costs and generate additional revenue. Next Monday, council members will decide whether to declare a fiscal emergency so they can move forward with a special election on a couple of tax measures. They say that special election is something they'd been planning even before learning of the closure, but the extra revenue is now even more important.