Ax could fall on every city dept |

Ax could fall on every city dept

Layoffs have not been targeted at this point in Grass Valley’s budget discussion, but no city department is safe from other cuts, the mayor said Thursday.

As city administrators and council members prepared the 2010-11 budget for approval later this year, they are finding savings elsewhere, in unfilled positions, soon-to-be-vacant positions and payroll reductions.

The city is projecting an estimated $700,000 deficit in their $10 million budget over the next two years. About $544,000 in cuts are being considered for next year.

“At this point we’re still going at it as if nothing is off the table,” said City Administrator Dan Holler.

In a series of three City Council budget meetings with district administrators, which culminated Wednesday, the council members indicated their support for cuts in a variety of areas for a preliminary city budget.

“Our challenge is, how we do this and still maintain our core services without seeing those diminish?” Holler said.

Proposed cuts include leaving open two pending vacancies in the Grass Valley Police Department, cutting back on seasonal firefighting employees, some reallocation of staff to different departments and reallocation of some portions of salaries from the general fund to the Redevelopment Agency fund.

“We’re looking at cuts in every department,” Mayor Lisa Swarthout said in an interview Thursday. “Obviously, though, our biggest concern is public safety and the service levels there.”

Research is still needed on some of the proposed cuts before they come before the board for the first time in late April, Holler added. The final budget is due in June.

While the proposed cuts deal with reigning in expenditures, Swarthout said the city also needs to focus on increasing revenues.

To stimulate that conversation, the City Council will host a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 at City Hall to discuss ways to improve the city’s revenue stream. Three areas will be addressed: Retail, jobs creation and tourism.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call (530) 477-4239.

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