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SAN PABLO

Posted by xaviervir on June 27, 2011

FOLLOWING ARTICLE FROM WEST COUNTY TIMES:

San Pablo council approves ‘live within your means’ budget

By Tom Lochner
Contra Costa Times

Posted: 06/25/2011 05:06:02 PM PDT
Updated: 06/25/2011 06:06:53 PM PDT

The San Pablo City Council has approved a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year after a months-long effort to prevent a $3.3 million shortfall that would have emerged if the city’s spending behavior had remained at “status quo” mode, as City Manager Matt Rodriguez put it.

Rodriguez called it a “basic-level-of-service model” in accordance with the city’s new budget mantra, “Live within your means.”

In the budget approved June 20, officials say they found ways to trim that don’t include any layoffs or major service cuts, even though the city faced some potential spending increases, notably increased health care costs and retirement rates.

In the end, all city employee bargaining groups agreed to pay the full employee share of Public Employees Retirement System contributions — 9 percent of base pay for police and 7 percent for others — for three years, Rodriguez said. As a partial offset of the retirement contributions, police will get 3 percent annual cost-of-living adjustments and other employees will get 2 percent.

The city’s workforce, after a handful of early retirements, is expected to be the equivalent of 121 full-time positions entering the new fiscal year, down from last year’s approved total of 125.

The 2011-2012 operating budget of $26.3 million incorporates about $1.4 million in redevelopment agency programs. Earlier this year, in anticipation of moves by the state to dismantle redevelopment agencies statewide,



San Pablo’s council transferred to the city 14 properties acquired over the past 30 years by the Redevelopment Agency for public purposes. The city also leased some 15 agency-owned acres known as the Circle S site slated for economic development.A first round of budget cuts, worth about $2.2 million, included reallocating and consolidating spending throughout city departments; inducing some early retirements through incentives for a net savings of $644,000; and reducing by $360,000 the general fund subsidy to the citywide Lighting and Landscape District.

The rest of the deficit was whittled down with a combination of police-related grants, reduced city subsidies to the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the use of $300,000 in one-time budget stabilization fund money.

The City Council agreed last week to cap council members’ medical and retirement benefits, projected to save about $23,000 a year.

Also, Rodriguez announced that starting in July, City Hall offices will be closed Fridays but will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In his budget message, Rodriguez noted that 57 percent of the city’s annual operating revenue comes from the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians’ Casino San Pablo in the form of payments to the city in lieu of taxes and a slice of gambling revenue. The city’s revenue from the casino was projected at about $14 million in the current fiscal year.

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