Additional city budget cuts detailed

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz has asked the City Council to make $1.5 million in budget cuts beyond the minimum $9.5 million required to balance the city’s budget.

Bobkiewicz has said the additional reductions could be used to help pay down the city’s pension deficit or restore general fund reserves, and they’d also help the city deal with its ongoing structural deficit — which has seen city expenses rise about $3 million a year faster that current revenues even during good economic times. They might also offer some alternatives to cuts proposed in the main package of spending reductions.

Memos released late last week detail the impact those additional cuts would have.

Fully half the cuts would fall on the Parks and Recreation Department:

  • The Ecology Center would be closed and its programs eliminated to save $200,000.
  • The Fleetwood-Jourdain Center would lose its full-tiem theater program manager and a part-time clerk who works evenings to save $100,000.
  • The Levy Senior Center would lose one of two full-time program manager positions and its shuttle bus program would end, saving $150,000.
  • The Robert Crown center will see part-time clerical and recreation aide positions cust to save $50,000
  • The forestry division would lose three positions that handle summer mowing work in parks, tree planting in the spring and tree trimming, to save $150,000.
  • The facilities management division would lose a general tradesman position for a savings of $70,000.
  • And overtime cleanup work work at the 4th of July celebration would be eliminated to save $30,000

In addition there’d be a variety of cuts in other departments.

  • The Administrative Services Department would save $48,000 by eliminating overtime for police officers at administrative adjudication hearings and four other reductions.
  • The Community Development Department would eliminate a structural inspector’s position to save nearly $88,000.
  • The police depart would save $100,000 by eliminating what’s left of the funding for its summer plan and reducing police overtime at the 4th of July celebration.
  • The public works department would eliminate $100,000 from its administration costs.

And the plan calls a variety of additional citywide cuts, including:

  • A 5 percent increase in employee contributions to health care costs to save $50,000.
  • A 5 percent salary reduction for all managers to save $150,000.
  • An additional unpaid holiday for city workers to save $180,000.
  • A reduction in payments to city workers for cell phone costs of $30,000.

The severity of some of the additional proposed reductions illustrate difficulties faced by aldermen as they try to respond to demands that some programs be spared from proposed cuts. The identified alternatives tend not to look very attractive, either.

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