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City Council weighs cuts in spending

The city of Grass Valley could eliminate two jobs, reduce some services and ask workers to take unpaid days off when the City Council meets tonight to consider budget cutbacks.

The city was staring at a $1.5 million deficit for its $12 million general fund budget for 2008-2009 when it started the process earlier this year, pared it to $466,000 in June and now is $215,000 from a balanced document, city administrator Dan Holler said Monday.

“We’re not 100 percent balanced, but I’m confident in the next three to six months we will be,” said Holler. “We’re probably looking at two positions from a layoff standpoint.”



Tonight’s council meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, at 125 East Main St. The council is expected to approve the city’s budget before a June 30 deadline.

Holler would not say where the two layoffs would occur but said two other city workers are pondering retirements that could ease the situation.




So far, the city has pared back the equivalent of 16 full-time positions with a hiring freeze as part of the more than 10 percent cost-cutting plan, Holler said. The city’s workforce now stands at the equivalent of 123 full-time employees, down from 139.

“Every single department has cut something,” Holler said. “It’s been a team approach.”

Other cuts include no new equipment purchases for the year, with the exception of single vehicle replacements for the fire and police departments, Holler said. City managers have reduced their cost-of-living raises to 2 percent from 3.7 percent.

City workers also have considered taking unpaid furlough days during the year. Others may be willing to cut hours during the week.

City employees will keep the pay raises they earned in collective bargaining in recent years. The raises, rising costs and declining tax revenue growth – both in sales and property tax – are contributing to the current deficit.

Though Grass Valley residents can expect a leaner government this fiscal year, they also will receive reduced services, Holler said.

Two police officer vacancies will mean less street presence and the animal control unit will go to two officers from three when one of them retires this summer, Holler said. A code enforcement officer will also begin to split time with the housing rehabilitation program.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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