Council cuts $12.5 million, more to come

By: Megan Wood, The Press Tribune
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Budgets, layoffs and furloughs, oh my. The Roseville City Council has been warning some difficult decisions need to be made and at last week’s meeting, some of those decisions were addressed including a budget update by City Treasurer Russ Branson. Branson reported that the city’s budget has been declining consistently over the last two years. The current expected revenue for 2010 is estimated to be at $110.4 million, a $19 million drop since 2008. Last year, the city spent about $125.7 in city expenditures. In order to balance the budget for the 2010 fiscal year, city officials have been working to cut costs. “Our budget has seen nearly a $22 million reduction in the last two years and the fact that we’ve been able to make reductions without major disruption to services is really a testament to city staff,” Branson said City staff has already cut $12.5 million in expenses through reducing travel, training, materials and voluntary staff reductions from those taking advantage of the early retirement incentive. The city is now working to reduce expenses by a remaining $6.5 million through layoffs and negotiating with labor unions to discuss and negotiate concessions in compensation. City Manager Craig Robinson spoke about the reductions in city staff when pressed for figures and said, “We won’t be sharing numbers until the process is complete and the reason being is employees need to hear that first from us, not the media or a curious member of the community. I will not be providing that detail.” Longtime resident and former Placer County Supervisor Phil Ozenick questioned the city manager on his salary, asking if he had ever considered or opted to take a pay cut. “That is a private matter and when we go through the compensation reductions I will be leading the charge,” Robinson said. Councilman Jim Gray said he found the criticism of Robinson’s salary and the city’s fiscal management unfortunate considering Ozenick’s history as a former Placer County Supervisor and his knowledge of the budgetary process. “I find it very disingenuous. If he’s going to be critical of anybody he should be critical of us,” Gray said. “We went through a very thorough process of what that salary should be and why.” Also approved at Wednesday’s meeting were furlough days for the Roseville Police Association. According to Human Resources Director Stacey Haney non-sworn members will be required to use their accrued vacation days in exchange for a 3 percent reduction in compensation for an equivalent amount of hours over the course of the year. “Because their contract was reopened and they were given raises, these furloughs will result in a wash,” Haney said. Furloughs were not considered to be an option for bargaining group Local 39 due to the size and capacity of the union. Furloughing Local 39 would negatively impact city services and would not be an effective cost reducing measure Haney said. “(Local 39) recognized the economic situation we were in and agreed to a year with no increase,” Haney said. “At the end of contract negotiations there was an understanding that furloughs were not an option.”