With the summer season approaching and revenue from sales tax on the decline, the city of Waxahachie was looking to cut some of its seasonal positions to remain in the black financially.

As it turns out, the needed positions will not be cut but will be funded by federal dollars.

The American Recovery Reinvestment Act will fund the jobs through the Texas Workforce’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

“The way we came about it is that we were looking into using some of the stimulus money to fill some positions. In doing that we would not be able to open up the pool because they don’t fund positions at pools and at golf courses. So the North Central Texas Council of Governments referred us to Texas Workforce,” director of human resources Gayle Sims said.

“What this program does is that it funds positions for youth from ages 14 to 24 that are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Youth who have single parents, low income and 18 on up who haven’t finished high school. They will fund them and will pay everything, which includes salaries (minimum wage), workers comp, child care, transportation costs and any kind of personal protective equipment needed for the job,” she said.

Although the program allows youth to work starting at age 14, the city will not hire anyone younger than the age of 16. The city is hoping to employ 15 to 18 people under this program.

The program is looking to fill both budgeted and non-budgeted positions. With budgeted positions, the city is looking to fill three in the street department, six in parks and recreation, six lifeguards, one at the civic center and one at the sports complex. Non-budgeted positions in downtown development and the water departments also are being considered.

Upon being hired, new employees will be required to work a minimum of 20 hours each week. They will be supervised and taught life skills such as keeping a schedule, getting to work on time and following directions. The minimum each youth will work during the summer is 150 hours with a maximum of 300.

“We are hoping to work them the maximum number of hours, which will probably carry us through the summer if each person is doing 20 hours a week. That will hopefully take care of all the mowing that we need to do to keep our parks and road sides looking nice,” Sims said. “We think it a wonderful program. One, it helps us and, at the same time, it helps youth get into the habit of work.”

Open positions are still available for the summer with the city. Job seekers need to apply through the Texas Workforce Commission, located at 1712 W. U.S. Highway 287 Business in Waxahachie. The commission can be reached at 972-937-8114 or through its Web site at www.twc.state.tx.us.

E-mail Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com