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Davis, California

Monday, July 22, 2024

Davis City Council will cut $2.5 million from budget

The Davis City Council is planning to cut $2.5 million from its budget. A city council meeting on Sept. 27 held a budget workshop that addressed unfunded liabilities and how the city may execute the cut.

Unfunded liabilities include public pensions, retiree health care and public infrastructure.

Councilmember Stephen Souza said the budget presentation from the meeting had information on the path to the solution of where the money would come from.

The budget presentation discussed the framework for implementing budget savings, aligning funding strategies with council budget priorities as well as the plan of action for implementation.

“The whole picture’s changed a bit; we have a slower schedule,” said Councilmember Sue Greenwald. “Basically, the whole budget discussion has changed.”

Currently, the proposal to cut $2.5 million will happen at an indefinite time.

“We don’t know exactly when [the cut] will be implemented, but public works is one of the departments we were looking at for restructuring,” Greenwald said. “It’s all internal and the final reorganization involves combining forces with the UC Davis fire department so we don’t have total control.”

According to the budget presentation, there will be organizational restructuring, targeted position reductions and program and service reductions that will compensate for the cuts. Known as cost-savings proposals, the city council will not be able to carry out these actions without going through labor negotiations first.

“We will be meeting in a closed session for labor negotiations,” Greenwald said. “It hasn’t been determined yet whether to cut people or salaries and that can’t be determined until [there are] labor negotiations.”

The budget presentation said the labor negotiations have already begun and will continue into November, depending on the overall direction and outcome of the negotiations. The plan is to reorganize and implement the cost-savings plans from winter to spring of 2012.

Greenwald said there will be more meetings in the future to discuss the budget cut as well as a more definite idea of where and when the cuts will be made.

“We’ve been trying to make these cuts all along and we’ll be continuing to do so,” Greenwald said. “We’ll also be making more cuts but I’m hoping they can be done with a reasonable combination, that is, position reductions and labor agreements with compensation.”

The city council has already been trying to offset the future $2.5 million cut.

“The city has not been filling vacancies,” Greenwald said. “We’ve been in a constant position of cutting and we want to try to avoid layoffs.”

Greenwald said city council is joining the national problem of cutting positions to attrition, meaning that there are no job openings to the younger generation.

As to what will most definitely be reorganized to make up for the cut, Greenwald said everything’s on the table.

“Citizens of Davis pay $4 million of supplementary taxes to help us make payroll,” she said. “If we cut services too much, we risk that citizens might not support these supplementary taxes which have to be renewed periodically and that is why we have to be careful when cutting services.”

The whole city council is on board with the budget cut plan.

Councilmember Dan Wolk said he is pleased the council majority has acted proactively in ensuring the long-term fiscal health of the city.

“I think that the timeline that came out of last Tuesday’s meeting is a sound one and I look forward to having all parties – management, the employees and the community – sit down in a collaborative manner to address these long-term issues and put our city on a course toward fiscal sustainability,” Wolk said in an e-mail.

CLAIRE TAN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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