Due to budget cuts, city of Galt residents will notice fewer workers at the parks on the weekend and a shorter pool season this year.
The city is in the middle of adjusting its two-year budget to deal with an estimated $640,000 reduction in revenue for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. The Galt City Council received a presentation and approved adjustments to the city’s budget on Tuesday.
“We really did try to minimize the impact to the community when making cuts,” City Manager Jason Behrmann said.
One of the biggest structural changes will be the parks and recreation maintenance division moving under public works, so they can share equipment and be more efficient.
The culture and recreation department will continue to oversee the Galt Market and any recreation programs.
Fans of swimming will also notice that the public pool will have limited days late in the summer. Gora Aquatic Center will open this weekend for the summer. Starting on Aug. 11, the center will only be open on weekends because students are back in high school. The pool will then close permanently on Labor Day weekend.
Residents might also notice there is less staff in the parks on the weekend. The city is reducing its part-time staff for various sporting events and activities, so the fields and parks will still be open, but not as many people will be present.
“We’ll have a skeleton crew to clean bathrooms and pick up the trash as best as they can,” Behrmann said.
The city is re-evaluating some of the maintenance it has put off during the past few years to save money, and some of the equipment needs to be replaced because it is becoming too costly to repair, Behrmann said.
The city has computers that are more than seven years old, and staff is recommending that they are replaced.
Galt is facing several challenges that are adding pressure to a budget that has already seen revenues decrease over the last three years.
Employee costs are one of the main concerns. Health care costs have increased by $573,167 since 2005. Pensions also are taking up a larger part of the budget with the city expecting to pay $171,590 more next fiscal year. During the next three years, those costs are expected to continue to increase by a total of $631,275.
Galt is also still paying off the police building that was constructed in 2001. The main source of revenue to pay the bonds back was future development impact fees. Those have disappeared because no one is constructing projects right now.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the city will use the remaining debt service years, but will need General Fund money for the next four years. The annual debt service is $315,000.
City staff is still in negotiations with its labor unions for concessions. Behrmann said he hopes to bring the agreements before the council during the second meeting of June.