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Roseville's economic forecast still bleak

By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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The city of Roseville’s budget and local weather forecast sound very similar this time of year; grey, foggy and no signs of letting up. City treasurer Russ Branson painted a bleak second half to the 2010 fiscal year at last Wednesday’s city council meeting by telling council “we are in the middle of an economic crisis.” Branson said property tax revenues continue to decline and are currently about $1 million down from estimates at the beginning of the fiscal year. Although the sales tax revenues from Christmas won’t be calculated until March, Branson said he expected sales tax revenues to also fall about $1 million from budget. “Our budget for this year was already assuming a reduction of $1 million from last year,” Branson said. “So we’re seeing a continued deterioration of sales tax.” Other revenues are flat or down but Branson said the general outlook for Roseville’s income, especially in key revenues, is continued deterioration. In 2007, Roseville’s budget was $132 million, this year’s budget was approved at $110 and the 2011 budget, Branson said would probably need to be scaled back even more. Going into 2011, Branson said continued cost control would be priority. Cost cutting measures that Branson said would be critical in the coming year included reducing overtime, using contracts for city projects strategically and furloughs or additional layoffs may also be considered. “We have no plans for layoffs and furloughs at this time,” Branson said. “They need to be on the table, something we consider after everything else depending on where our revenue and costs go.” Branson said each department is beginning to scrutinize its spending to find ways to reduce expenses. Branson said he will return to council with budget recommendations for 2011 in early March. Despite a bleak fiscal outlook, Roseville bargaining groups International Brotherhood of Electrical workers and the Roseville Police Association were approved to receive 3 percent salary increases this year. The IBEW is in its final year of a four-year contract that does not include a reopener agreement and to not approve the increase would be a breach of contract said Roseville Human Resources Manager Stacey Haney. At the meeting, Roseville resident and Friends of Roseville Director Jack Wallace requested the items concerning the pay increases be pulled from the agenda for discussion. Wallace expressed concern that the items were placed on the agenda as only consent items and said he felt the pay increases were important enough that residents in the city should know about them and understand why they were being considered. “I am glad to see that there are no increases for management personnel,” Wallace said. “I’ve always advocated pay for the working class.” Wallace also questioned whether the pay increases for the two labor unions would necessitate more city employee layoffs. “At this time no additional layoffs are planned for,” Haney said. “We do have contingency plans in place if we have difficulty meeting our salary demands.” Council approved the pay increases 4-0. Councilman John Allard was absent from Wednesday’s meeting. In other business, Mayor Gina Garbolino will join Environmental Utilities Director Derrick Whitehead in Washington D.C next month to meet with lobbyists and organizations including California Senator Barbara Boxer and United States Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staff to explore federal funding opportunities for Roseville projects. Two projects that will be highlighted are the Waste-to-Energy Biomass project and the Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project. In years past, Whitehead said up to $4 million in federal grant money has been obtained from previous lobbying visits in Washington that have gone to fund projects like the I-80 bottleneck.