BAKER, La. (AP) — Officials say the Baker Department of Public Works and Utilities is operating with a "skeleton crew" and any further loss of staff through retirements or attrition will put the department in an even more difficult position.

Director Julie McCulloch told city council members during a work session on Wednesday that the public works has 10 workers, including one part-time employee and two contract workers. Eighteen people work in utilities, three of whom are contract workers. The contract workers in both areas are retired city employees. The city does not pay benefits to contract workers.

The Advocate reports McCulloch told the council she can't afford to hire new qualified workers on her budget.