The city of Sacramento announced on Thursday that its budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year would mean the layoffs of nearly 100 public safety employees.
The city has offered those employees the chance to save their jobs, however. In recent years, the firefighters union has agreed to pay 6 percent of the 9.81 percent employee contribution to CalPERS. The city is asking they agree to pick up the remaining 3.81 percent. Police, who have so far refused to cover any of the 9.81 percent, would need to accept their full share of the employee contribution. If they do, the layoffs would be cancelled due to the savings.
Last year, the City issued its first ever layoff notices to public safety employees, however the structural budget deficit continued. This year, salaries and benefits accounted for 77 percent of the total general fund expenses, despite six years of cuts.
“This is not the budget I had hoped to recommend to address next year’s structural budget deficit,” said City Manager John Shirey.
However, the city faced a shortfall of roughly $18 million.
According to a statement released by the city, the budget gap was the result of “both expenditure increases mostly attributable to contracted employee salary increases and the continued decline in property tax revenue.”
Should the layoffs be realized, most of the city’s fire trucks would be reduced from teams of four to teams of three. It would also mean the city’s police department would shrink to just 591 officers in the fiscal year, or 215 fewer than the department had in 2007.
The total number of police officers who could lose their jobs is 59. However, the city is hopeful that federal grant money will come through to provide funding for many of the jobs. Various news outlets estimate the total number of potential layoffs between 32 and 59.
The city is already looking at having to overcome a 2013/14 budget deficit of $7.4 million. Deficits are projected to persist until 2016.
Budget cuts had impacted more than staffing. All of the city’s pools were going to be unfunded this year, meaning none would be open to the public. However, the community became involved and the supermarket Save Mart volunteered to match any donations up to $500,000 to fund the pools. As a result, half of the city’s pools and half of its wading pools will be open.