Roseville to cut $6.5 million in labor force

By: Megan Wood- The Press-Tribune
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In a final effort to balance the budget, Roseville city staff are facing layoffs and compensation cuts to close the remaining $6.5 million gap for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. For the past three weeks city department heads have been in budget review meetings with the city manager to find additional ways to cut operating costs. Since 2007 the city has reduced its general fund budget by $14.5 million through cutting training, travel and materials. According to Megan MacPherson, communications manager, a total of 89 positions have been defunded in the last two years but as the general fund has continued to shrink, labor costs now account for 78 percent of the city’s general fund. “We’re looking at a combination of layoffs and cuts in compensation. Not one or the other,” MacPherson said. “We’ve also offered early retirement incentives.” The city is not considering short-term solutions like furloughs which would only relieve an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million in the deficit. According to MacPherson, due to variances in department workloads, furloughs would have an uneven effect on city services. Meetings will be held with laboring groups to discuss options but, until the early retirement deadline has passed on May 15 it is unknown how many city employees will be laid off. “We have budget hearings the first week of June and we’ll have a good idea of where we stand,” MacPherson said. The 2009-2010 budget will go into effect on July 1 and by that time, the $6.5 million gap needs to be resolved. According to MacPherson, all city departments are being looked at for layoffs with workload being a major consideration in the decision making process. Another deciding factor are core services, MacPherson said. “(Roseville) offers a lot of services and great programs that are an added benefit and great for our citizens but aren’t a part of our core services,” MacPherson said. “It’s going to be a lot of tough choices and wise compromises.” According to MacPherson, the city is using the recent economic downturn as an incentive to research a new business model for Roseville. City officials will begin looking at ways to realign services and restructure the way the city uses its’ resources and funds. “We’re planning for a new normal,” MacPherson said.