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January 13, 2010 > Proposed budget reductions at a glance

Proposed budget reductions at a glance

By Meenu Gupta

City of Newark staff will implement budgets cuts approved by Council to close a $3.4M budget deficit. All City departments are affected. The budget reductions take into consideration public safety, legal and liability issues as priorities.

The following reductions are planned:

Management Services sees proposed staff and salary reductions of $40,500 and non-salary reductions of $129,700. This will lead to elimination of Sunday library hours, crossing guard funding and reduced administrative support and public access hours.

The City Attorney's Office contract legal services cut of $15,000 will translate to reduced capacity to respond to legal issues.

Human Resources Department will see staff and salary reductions of $89,200 and non-salary reductions of $21,600. Impacted services include training, supplies and contract services, employee and community recognition activities, workers' compensation and fewer public access hours.

"In Information Systems, we propose staff and salary reductions of $15,000 and non-salary reductions of $65,500. We have one information systems manager," said City Manager John Becker.

This will lead to reduced contract services for network and Internet, document imaging services and reduced computer and network service coverage.

Proposed staff and salary reductions for the Fire Department amount to $16,300 and non-salary reductions to $25,000. Reduced city-wide office supplies, delays in payment processing and reduced public counter hours can be expected.

The Fire Department will also see a reduction in current year overtime budget of $70,000 per month. Another $600,000 will have to be cut if fire services are not contracted with Alameda County. Elimination of the Squad Unit, reducing daily staffing by two firefighters, increased dependency on outside aid for structure fires and increased response time for structure fires will be some of the repercussions.

The proposed staff and salary reduction for the Police Department is $876,200 and the non-salary reduction is $65,000. This will result in the elimination of one Sergeant position and reorganization of supervisor responsibilities. The loss of one detective position will lead to delayed processing of property-related crimes. Elimination of two patrol officers will reduce staffing to minimum levels.

"We propose reducing Dispatch Center staffing hours to part-time hours with an overall reduction in staffing hours," said Becker. "We would not want to go lower than this," he added, referring to public safety.

Community Development will see staff and salary reductions of $93,900. There will be a reduction in code-enforcement activities and longer response times to property-related complaints.

Recreation and Community Services staff and salary reductions of $773,500 and non-salary reductions of $63,900 have been suggested. Closure of the Community Center, except for rentals and child care, of the Senior Center, with the senior programs shifting to the Silliman Center, and elimination of the Ash Street Summer Program funding are proposed. Elimination of Second Chance funding and reduction of Silliman Center hours for some activities will also be implemented.

"We'll still provide activities and services to seniors," said Becker. "Initially there won't be a drop-in fee as seniors go through this transition phase. We'll make sure the sense of place for seniors will be a top priority."

For instance, computer classes will continue with the same instructor. Senior aerobics classes remain unaffected as does the Mercy Brown Bag Program. Weekly Bingo will be offered on Thursdays. The Senior Advisory Committee will meet at the activity center. Trips and tours will be unaffected by the Senior Center's closure. Newark Paratransit Program will continue. The arts and crafts program at the Senior Center has been canceled because of reduced enrollment. Transition will begin on February 8.

Reduction of landscape maintenance in parks and throughout the City by Public Works will have an aesthetic impact. Proposed staff and salary reductions are $610,500 with non-salary reductions of $274,300. Pothole and surface repairs, street debris removal, sign removal, sign repairs and street sweeping will be scaled back. There will be possible delays in building repairs, delays to capital projects and increased development and permit-processing times.

Total reductions amount to $3,485,100 with a reduction of 23 full-time employees, elimination of 21 positions and 10 positions with reduced hours. City-wide, there will be a 15 percent reduction in permanent staff, excluding Fire Department cuts. Affected employees will be notified by February 1.

Starting February, a newsletter will be circulated to all residents informing them of the changes. The City's website, www.newark.org, will also be updated.

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