Grover Beach set for more cuts

Council mostly agrees with a plan to cut an $800,000 deficit that includes laying off six employees; final action is expected June 18

clambert@thetribunenews.comMay 11, 2012 

The Grover Beach City Council this week largely agreed with a plan to cut an $800,000 deficit in the upcoming budget year through various means, including laying off six employees.

The council gave feedback and did not take final action Monday on its draft budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which starts July 1. The council will take action at a hearing June 18, with an additional meeting set for June 19 if needed.

City officials are trying to balance the budget without dipping into reserve funds. The city is using about $410,000 in reserve funds to fill a gap in this year’s budget.

The city’s property tax revenues, its largest source of funding, have dropped 12 percent over the past three years. The city has already left some vacant positions unfilled, implemented pay cuts and furloughs, and reduced the amount spent on street improvements.

This coming year, city officials plan to eliminate two full-time and four part-time positions, seek a continuation of the employee pay cuts and furloughs, and trim the amount of money the city contributes to the Five Cities Fire Authority. In addition, four people are retiring; of those positions, the city plans to fill two, with one at a lower pay grade.

“The only way to transition back to a solid point of health is to build a sustainable budget, and that’s what we’re proposing to do,” City Manager Bob Perrault told the council.

The proposed budget does not include any funding for several nonprofits that Grover Beach has supported in past years, including the Economic Vitality Commission, county Visitors and Conference Bureau, county Housing Trust Fund and the Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The City Council heard from members of some of those organizations on Monday and expressed a desire to support some or all of the organizations, perhaps at a lower cost.

Mayor John Shoals said he was concerned about the $200,000 proposed to be spent on street improvements.

“If there are any other opportunities to get more money on streets, then we have to be thinking of that,” he said.

The council in March approved moving ahead with layoffs but could still direct staff to reconsider which specific positions are being cut, Perrault said.

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