Wednesday Feb 15 2012
Four public safety job layoffs rescinded
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
Lincoln pool to stay open this season
City Council chose to rescind the layoff notices of two cops, one community services officer and one firefighter during Tuesday night’s meeting. The council also directed city staff to maintain staffing levels for dispatchers at six and to keep the McBean Memorial Swimming Pool open for the upcoming season That direction came after Lincoln Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Anna Jatczak provided the council with a presentation of the 2011-2012 Mid Year Budget Review. “The good news is we are exactly where we thought we would be,” Jatczak said. “The bad news is we are exactly where we thought we were going to be.” Jatczak said the “projection for General Fund revenues remains the same as when the budget was developed.” “Revenues are coming in at about $11 million, where we thought, and total expenditures are $10.8 million,” Jatczak said. Jatczak said those numbers “reflect the layoffs of public safety” at the end of February. “We will have net revenues of $184,000, which means that the actions we have taken during the development of the 2011-2012 budget did bring us into balance for this fiscal year,” Jatczak said. By not laying off the four public safety personnel at the end of this month, Jatczak said that would “result in a net loss of $81, 000,” which she said is “extremely close to achieving a balanced budget.” “What this means is it will cost $81,000 to retain the positions through the end of the fiscal year while we refine the numbers in the creation of the 2012-2013 budget,” Jatczak said. “Revenue and expenditure projections will determine whether it is necessary to implement further reductions to achieve a balanced budget.” Closing the pool would mean a reduction in revenues of $50,000, according to Jatczak, and “expenses related to pool operation are approximately $64,000.” “If the pool were to be closed, fixed costs of approximately $16,000 would continue to occur,” Jatczak said. Jatczak also discussed the city’s development fund. “Kind of some good news with respect to revenues, we’ve already collected 90 percent of the permit revenue we had expected, and 65 percent of the expected development fees,” Jatczak said. “One of the reasons we are on the higher side is we had a big commercial permit pulled for Fresh and Easy. We thought we would have 49 residential permits, and we are at 78 to date.” Prior to direction given to the council, one resident briefly addressed the council about the potential layoffs of public safety employees. “It’s really important we keep as many police officers and staff as much as we can,” said Jim Hoffer. Councilman Tom Cosgrove asked Jatczak how much of the pool’s upcoming season have been budgeted for in this fiscal year’s budget. Since the pool is open June through August, and this fiscal year ends on June 30, Jatczak said one-third of the pool’s season has been budgeted for. Jatczak also said that revenue and expenses for the pool last season “ended up positive.” “It makes good financial sense for us to leave the pool open since it is positive and breaking even,” said Mayor Spencer Short. Cosgrove noted that there are “public safety folks who may be looking at other agencies.” “It would be very difficult to lose people at this point and replace people without going to significantly low levels,” Cosgrove said. “My position is given the condition of the budget and reducing our public safety any further, we risk going below levels we had set. I think it’s wise and prudent on our part to rescind the layoff notices.” Councilman Paul Joiner had similar comments. “Tom’s point is right on point,” Joiner said. “We could potentially lose more to attrition, so if we could hold onto those positions, it makes good sense.” In other council related news, Short discussed Placer County’s support of the regional sewer project. The regional sewer project means the potential regionalization of sewer services between Auburn, Lincoln and Placer County at Lincoln’s wastewater treatment plant, through building a pipeline from Auburn and North Auburn to Lincoln, according to previous News Messenger reports. If the project were to go through, $12 million would be paid back to Lincoln from Auburn and Placer County for over-sizing Lincoln’s wastewater treatment plant and sewer pipeline, according to previous News Messenger reports. “County staff has indicated their support of the regional sewer project,” Short said Tuesday night. “County staff before was supporting the stay-at-home option, and now is supporting the regional sewer, which is huge.” Short said that support came during the previous week’s Technical Advisory Committee meeting for the project. During council-initiated business, Short asked city staff to look into closing the railroad crossing at 6 th Street, which could result in the city receiving $20 million. “I’m not sure what the process is or if we meet the needs for this program, but if we could do that I would like staff to look into this funding source,” Short said. “Could that happen, number one, and how does it impact traffic flow?” Short said. “If there is substantial funding, what I’d like to see is if we could get a large amount of funding and build part of Gladding Parkway.” Those funds, Short said, could be used to construct Gladding Parkway, which would take traffic from East Avenue around Gladding, McBean and connect with Gladding Road. That would remove much of the truck traffic from downtown streets. Short said the funding could come from Union Pacific and the California Public Utilities Commission.