Special meeting Tuesday to discuss more cuts, layoffs
February 06, 2010 3:20 PM
By brooke edwards

VICTORVILLE • Still reeling from massive cuts to close a $13 million deficit last summer, Victorville is facing a $4.36 million gap to stay afloat through June.

Now city staff is looking to the council for direction in closing that gap, with a special meeting called Tuesday night to discuss further cuts.

Roughly $1.36 million of the mid-year deficit comes from five departments spending beyond what was budgeted last summer, according to a staff report included in Tuesday’s agenda.

Nearly $1 million of that total is from the City Attorney’s office, with Victorville embroiled in a number of lawsuits that fill each council agenda with closed session discussions on litigation. Though the city budgeted $250,000 for legal services, staff is projecting more than $1.1 million will be spent by June 30.

Other departments that have spent beyond what was budgeted are engineering, park and facility development, graffiti removal and Westwinds Golf Course, the report states.

The remaining $3 million shortfall comes from revenue streams that haven’t come in as projected, with three funds down an average of 26 percent — and no reserve funds to compensate.

Revenues from in-lieu sales tax are down $1.9 million or 42 percent from projections, with the staff report citing faulty estimates by the state and declining sales.

Property tax revenues are off by nearly $1 million or 5 percent of projections, as plummeting property values lead to reassessed taxes. And after years of being a “no-property tax city,” following the general fund’s absorption of property-tax driven special districts such as the sanitary fund last year, property taxes now account for the largest portion of general fund income at 35 percent.

Staff is also calling for a $117,000 drop in projected revenue from Motor Vehicle License Fees, citing declining auto sales, late registration payments and no payments from the state.

Reports included in Tuesday’s agenda don’t suggest any specific plans for closing the $4 million gap, with staff looking to council for guidance. However officials have said more employee layoffs are an inevitable solution.
At least seven employees volunteered to be considered for layoffs by a deadline from City Manager Jim Cox on Thursday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Yvonne Hester.

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