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City council attempts to protect core services

Budget for 2011 fiscal year includes cuts in police and fire departments, library operating hours
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville City Council and staff have made one overarching goal clear during budget proceedings for the 2011 fiscal year: protect core services. This refers to services that impact city residents, such as public safety and parks and recreation. Protecting these services hasn’t been easy as the city attempts to cut $14.7 million from its budget to achieve a balanced general fund budget of roughly $104 million in revenues and expenses. Roseville’s general fund has experienced significant revenue loss over the last three years, resulting in a decline of operating revenue from $126 million in 2007. “It’s been a hard time but this is everyone working together because this is our city and we want to keep it afloat,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Pauline Roccucci at Wednesday’s city council meeting. During the meeting, Finance Director Russ Branson offered “some positive news” noting that sales tax from January through March increased 3.5 percent from the previous year. This equals between $300,000 and $400,000, he said. About one-third of the city’s general fund revenue comes from sales tax. The council unanimously approved Branson’s budget recommendations. “We have a balanced budget before you with details to be worked out,” Branson said. “I’ll end on a positive note — sales tax is improving. Hopefully, that’s a sign we’re able to maintain.” The two biggest changes for the 2011 fiscal year involve reducing staff by 36 employees and implementing service reductions. The city expects to implement all the changes to achieve a balanced budget by Jan. 1, 2011. Staff reductions will occur in the city’s general fund budget, which covers the fire and police departments, parks, libraries, public works and other services for residents. The city hopes to reduce employees through early retirement incentives, redeployment, voluntary separation and layoffs. Branson considers layoffs a last resort. The city has cut 22 percent of its workforce since 2007. Later this year, staff will look at the prospect of negotiating furloughs with city employee labor unions. The second significant budget change includes service reductions in the fire department, police department, and parks, recreation and libraries department. Police Chief Mike Blair said his department aims to prevent and control crime through increased crime prevention measures and expanded citizens on patrol. The department will eliminate the car-per-officer program for a savings of $132,000. One police vehicle will be assigned to officers on two different shifts. The fire department anticipates 10,341 calls for service in 2011. The majority of calls each year typically go to Fire Station no. 1 — located on Oak Street. The station received about 2,400 calls in 2009. Roseville currently has eight fire stations. The city will close its three-person engine company at Fire Station no.7, but keep the four-person truck company operational. This station, located on Highland Pointe Drive, has a low call volume, receiving about 1,200 calls last year. Fire Chief Ken Wagner said the station’s truck can respond to 90 percent of calls, but that response times may be lengthened. Roseville’s three public libraries will reduce their operating hours. ---------- City of Roseville’s total budget: $407.2 million Utilities enterprise funds: $196.9 million (48 percent) General fund: $111.2 million (27 percent) Special district funds: $46.9 million (12 percent) Capital improvement project funds: $22.2 million (5 percent) Special revenue and permanent funds: $15.3 million (4 percent) Other enterprise funds: $14.7 million (4 percent) Citywide staff reductions from general fund budget: General government: 8.425 (Full Time Equivalent) Police: 6.5 Fire: 9.5 Parks, Recreation and Libraries: 8.5 Public Works: 2 Community Development/Planning: 1 Total reductions: 35.925 Here’s a breakdown of some service-related budget changes: Police Department: OVERVIEW: Budget: $29.9 million 213 employees, which includes 123 sworn officers and 74 professional staff From 2005 to 2009: Violent crime rate declined 18 percent Property crime rate declined 6.7 percent Total crime rate declined 8 percent Total traffic collisions declined 15 percent DUI-related collisions increased 11 percent BUDGET CHANGES: · Defund four vacant police officer positions and one vacant records clerk position · Reduce youth and family services program · Eliminate car-per-officer program · Develop a plan to close the City Jail and transition to the Stantucci Justice Center Jail, which will open in 2012 Fire Department: OVERVIEW: Budget: $24 million 112 employees 10,341 calls for service estimated in 2011 80 percent are for emergency-medical service rescue calls Eight fire stations in Roseville BUDGET CHANGES: · Close three-person engine company at Fire Station no.7, keep four-person truck company operational (firefighters from engine company will be absorbed into the current workforce through attrition) · Defund nine positions, which includes one vacancy and several early retirements Parks, Recreation and Libraries: OVERVIEW: Budget: $22 million 106 regular employees 120-plus contract employees 600-plus temporary employees 61 parks and facilities 3 million visitors to parks and facilities annually Department will operate new indoor pool, build and maintain two new parks in 2010-11 BUDGET CHANGES: · Reduce 8.5 regular employees out of the general fund, which includes three library staff positions · Hire city librarian · Reduce library hours: All three libraries will close two hours earlier on Thursdays, and operating hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Downtown Library will open two hours later on Saturdays, from 12-5 p.m. Maidu Library will close Saturdays Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.