In a preview of Upland’s 2012-13 budget for the city council, city manager Stephen Dunn said that despite a sincere effort to reallocate the city’s resources and reduce services and expenditures, his best projection is that the city will still run a $9.4 million deficit.
Dunn said efforts to rein in costs will be carried out across the board and will call for each municipal department to absorb its own obligated expenditures. Nevertheless the imposition of even more severe economies that will extend to the city’s previously sacrosanct public safety division will be inadequate in offsetting the burgeoning cost of keeping the city functioning, the city manager said.
In recent years, Dunn said, the city has faced fiscal challenges but last year was able to pare back certain non-safety related programs, defer others and reduce outlays in an amount sufficient to prevent the city from running a deficit.
Just prior to the beginning of the current 2011-12 fiscal year, in June 2011, the city council ratified a budget with a $4.7 million deficit, calling for revenues of $36 million and expenditures of $40.7 million. But two months later, after Dunn, who had served as Upland’s finance director before he was elevated to the position of city manager, took an axe to that spending plan and obtained the resignations of the city’s longtime community development director, its public works director and human resources/risk management director and consolidated other departments, incorporated certain other economies and cut $4.8 million out of the city’s operating costs, creating a $100,000 surplus for 2011-12.
While Dunn said he has reasonable grounds to believe that the city’s revenue will grow by $2.2 million in 2012-13, he said running the city over the same 12 months will cost $47.6 million, incurring a $9.4 million deficit.
Dunn said the city will have obligated expenditures of $3.8 million. Futhermore, Dunn said, the city will be hit with $2.3 million in new expenditure obligations in the upcoming budget, consisting of $700,000 in raises to the members of the police department that were committed to more than two years ago, $400,000 in previously agreed-to merit increases and a $1.2 million increase in the city’s contribution to the California Public Employees Retirement System to cover the cost of pensions.
His proposed budget for 2012-13 does not contain money for restoring reserves spent in past years, does not cover the city’s deficit in its self-insurance fund, does not provide any money for economic development, and does not provide money for alleyway repair. Nor will the city replace any of the vehicles in its fleet in 2012-13.
The budget will include reduced funds for street repair, citywide concrete replacement, some repaving and the purchase of library books.
To balance the city’s budget now and in the future, Dunn said the city should consider contracting with the sheriff’s department or the city of Ontario for the provision of police services, contracting with the county, the California Division of Forestry or the city of Ontario for the provision of fire service, eliminating the police department’s SWAT team, closing or browning-out a fire station, eliminating the fire department’s paramedic program, selling the fire department’s ladder truck, reducing the city’s animal control division and its animal shelter, or closing the shelter entirely and subcontracting with another organization for animal control service. Dunn said the city could also cancel the city’s fireworks show, eliminate Upland’s recreation division, cease publication of the quarterly city newsletter, outsource the management of the library, make further reductions in the library hours, reduce street sweeping services, reduce or eliminate tree trimming services, reduce landscape maintenance services, contract out for the city’s fleet services, institute modified work schedules for operation crews and field personnel, limit stand-by personnel, and contract out for engineering services.
The city could also, Dunn said, reduce its legal expenses by settling or dismissing as many of the lawsuits it is presently engaged in as is reasonably possible, removing bonus provisions from executives’ contracts, reducing compensation to non-sworn personnel in the police department, reducing the vehicle fleet by eliminating take home vehicles, reducing the number of city-issued cell phones, and ending the practice of picking up employees’ shares of their pensions.
Dunn also told the council it could consider pushing the county to cut the city in on a larger share of the property tax collected within the city, as well as raising sale taxes, raising the business license tax, raising the transient occupancy tax at hotels and motels, and raising fees for a host of city services.