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Council poised to cut another $30 million from city’s budget

Citizen Staff Writer



The budget talks city officials have been dreading most are set for Tuesday.

Decisions on how to cut about $30 million more from the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will likely be made official.

City Manager Mike Hein now projects next year’s general operating budget revenues to be about $444 million, up $22 million from the previous projection but down $58 million from the budget adopted in June. The city uses a two-year budget cycle.

If the council approves Hein’s recommendations, about 30 employees will be laid off, many other workers will have to take a 12-day furlough and three development-related city departments will be merged into two.

Tuesday’s vote could also reduce the amount the city contributes to social service agencies by $4 million and public transit by $4 million.

Hein released memos Feb. 6 and 9 that outlined the changes but made no mention of getting council approval.

His memos seem to have reignited anger some council members felt in June over the handling of the adopted budget and a proposed increase in bus fares. The disputes precipitated Councilman Steve Leal’s call to fire Hein.

On Feb. 11, Councilwomen Shirley Scott, Regina Romero and Karin Uhlich sent a memo to Hein asking that the council be formally updated before the changes were made.

The memo cited council direction Oct. 21 that Hein “update and inform the Mayor and Council in a timely manner of any recommended budget adjustments for consideration and approval.”

It concludes, “As such, (I am/We are) requesting that, before any Management action is taken, any and all recommendations for changes to the City’s overall organization, departmental structure, or directives that would affect City employees be brought forward as Study Session items.”

Hein said Friday that he viewed his memos as notice of his recommendations and the response as “a reaffirmation that the council is the policy-making body.”

Also on Tuesday’s study session agenda are a plan to encourage “green” jobs and revisions to city rules on vacant buildings, junked cars and notifications to violators of the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance.


What: City Council meeting

When: Study session starts at 2 p.m., regular session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Council chambers, 255 W. Alameda St.

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