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Lodi City Council discusses possible layoffs

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Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:39 am, Wed May 18, 2011.

The Lodi City Council is in the middle of drafting a budget, and city staff gave reports on five of the departments' finances to the council on Tuesday.

The message? Employees need to agree to concessions, or else there will be widespread layoffs that affect services.

It could include reduced library hours, less park maintenance and the elimination of employees to tend the city's streets.

The council received overviews from the following departments: the Lodi Public Library; transit; streets; community development and parks, recreation and cultural services. The summaries were before any cuts or concessions are finalized.

Staff will go through all of the departments' budgets during meetings before the final document is voted on in early June. The city plans to have the detailed budget available for citizens to view next week.

Revenue for the next fiscal year will basically remain flat, with only a $66,410 projected increase, but the city will have to deal with a $6.6 million increase in employee costs.

Part of that amount is already taken care of with current concessions that employees have agreed to take, including furloughs, pay cuts or elimination of city contributions to an optional retirement plan separate from employees' pensions, city spokesman Jeff Hood said.

Also, the city will save money by offering 14 employees a two-year credit as an incentive to retire early.

City staff is asking employees to be make additional concessions to close the remaining $4.5 million gap. The deficit consists of the following increases: $1.2 million for pensions, $783,160 for medical insurance and $2.5 million for workers' compensation.

Below is a look at the four individual departments the city profiled at Tuesday's meeting. None of the numbers take into account any concessions that employees are negotiating:

Library

Estimated expenditures: $1.43 million

Increase in employee costs: $144,012

Discussion: At the same time as expenses are increasing, the library will lose $57,000 in revenue because of state grants that are no longer being funded. If there are no concessions, the department's budget will be short $26,230, and staff says it will look at closing an additional 10 hours a week, reducing its part-time staff and eliminating the book budget.

The city's book budget was $175,000 three years ago, but now it has been reduced to around $70,000.

Transit

Estimated expenditures: $5.87 million

Increase in employee costs: $60,718

Discussion: The budget will be $88,720 in the black next year despite several big projects the department is working on.

The city will do a $1 million solar project that is funded through stimulus funds. The city is also replacing its 40-foot buses that were purchased in 2000 and are at the end of their lifespan. The city will spend $757,100 to buy 32-foot buses.

Streets

Estimated expenditures: $4.46 million

Increase in employee costs: $222,528

Discussion: The city is bringing the operating expenses in line with revenues, but without any concessions the fund will be down $464,960. If the city cannot strike a deal with bargaining groups, they will recommend laying off three positions bringing the total to 17 and additional restructuring.

"We run an extremely lean operation there, so we are seeing our deficit reduced," Deputy City Manager Jordan Ayers said.

The department is still working on a $1 million cape seal project, a $902,000 Hutchins Street reconstruction project, $120,000 for traffic signal and maintenance replacement, and $100,000 for sidewalk repairs and replacements.

Community development

Estimated expenditures: $1.30 million

Increase in employee costs: $149,306

Discussion: The department is reducing its cumulative deficit from $270,512 to $188,852. If the employees approve concessions, it will further reduce the deficit. The department has nine employees, plus City Manager Rad Bartlam, who is overseeing the department.

The goal is to have the department back to zero by the 2012 fiscal year. Building permits have recently started to increase. The city issues 184 permits at a cost of $98,232 in April compared to 130 at a cost of $59,170 in April 2010.

The city has also issued 1,666 permits in the first 10 months of this fiscal year totaling in $1.1 million compared to 1,380 or $510,998 in the last fiscal year.

Parks, recreation and cultural services

Estimated expenditures: $6.3 million

Increase in employee costs: $392,760

Discussion: The city combined the parks and recreation department and the community center into one earlier this year, which resulted in significant savings, Ayers said.

The department will have a deficit, and without employee concessions it will total $906,888.

The city already plans to eliminate an administrative clerk and reduce part-time hours. If the city cannot reach agreements with the employees in this department, it could result in up to five layoffs.

"The reductions we are proposing are pretty significant as a first cut. Over the next three years, much like streets and community development, we will have a program to reduce that deficit," Ayers said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodi news.com. or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/city_buzz.

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2 comments:

  • Jackson Scott posted at 2:08 pm on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 382

    Nice breakdowns Roy.

    I've been into the library a handful of times the past two months as I'm researching a paper. The one thing I have noticed on more than 3 times is that the library seems to be over-staffed.

    When I walk in or as I'm checking out a book there is 3 or 4 employees at the "checkout center." And at least 2 of them seem to be doing nothing, zero, zip, nada.

    And while I'm on the library, I wish they would kick out the loud talking people from Main Street (or homeless?). I asked them once to please quiet down & to use their library voice- needless to say I was greeted with a nasty retort of foul language & hand gestures. When I reported it to the staff upon leaving they just looked like they didn't care, or are afraid of the enforce the rules.

     
  • roy bitz posted at 1:34 pm on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    The total estimated expenditures of those departments listed is about 19 million dollars. I believe this amount is about 10% Lodi's total annual spend.
    It appears all departments employee cost is expected rise in all five departments.

    Library expenditures $1.43 mil---employee cost increase $144k= 10% increase
    Transit expenditures $5.87 mil---employee cost increase $61k= 1% increase
    Streets expenditures $4.46 mil---employee cost increase $222k= 5% increase
    Community develop $1.30 mil---employee cost increase $149k= 11% increase
    Parks and recreation $6.30 mil-- employee cost increase $ 393k= 6% increase

    I don't believe folks working in the private sector are winning these kinds of increases.
    Get a grip people!

    Streets expenditures $4.46 mil---employee cost increase

     

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