SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The city of Sacramento released a proposed 2012-13 budget on Thursday that includes the elimination of about 286 full-time positions to offset a projected $18 million deficit.
The proposed layoffs include 62 firefighters and 45 police officers.
“This is not the budget I had hoped to recommend to address next year’s structural budget deficit,” said City Manager John Shirey. “We continue to work with our employee groups to find solutions that would avoid the need for the elimination of positions and consequently programs and services to our community.”
The city is seeking concessions from unions on employee retirement benefits. The city says currently some staffers pay 57 percent of their retirement while firefighters have agreed to start paying 61 percent next year. Police officers pay none of their retirement contributions.
“We’re not here to negotiate for other labor unions,” firefighters union vice president Ryan Henry said of the benefit contributions. “We’re here to protect the citizens of Sacramento.”
Henry says if the cuts go through, the public will be put at greater risk. While the current budget plan would eliminate brownouts, it would also reduce the number of firefighters on an engine from four to three.
“When you reduce the number of firefighters on the engine or truck, you inhibit the ability to enter a structure and search for victims,” Henry said.
The city said in a press release that the ongoing general fund budget gap is the result of both expenditure increases mostly attributable to contracted employee salary increases and the continued decline in property tax revenue, the city’s single largest revenue source.
The total budget proposed for fiscal year 2012-13 is $1.06 billion. The recommended budget supports 3,791 authorized full-time equivalent employee positions.
Over the past six years, the city has eliminated about 1,200 positions and addressed an estimated $219 million on-going budget gap.
The public hearing process will begin at the City Council meeting May 1 and is expected to go through June 12.
The city is already projecting a budget deficit of $7.4 million for fiscal year 2013-14.