A look ahead

Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Created: 12/26/2010 07:02:07 AM PST

POMONA – Holding down costs as they develop budgets for the coming fiscal year will be a top issue for the leaders of Pomona’s city government and its school system in 2011.

For both entities, it will require going to labor groups for concessions.

Pomona City Hall has achieved temporary savings through employee wage reductions including work furloughs, resulting in 10percent cuts to employee wages.

Not only are employees working fewer hours but residents and others doing business with the city have less time to do so, City Manager Linda Lowry said.

The reduction in service is not sustainable, she said.

“We need to get back to work full time,” Lowry said.

That means going to employee bargaining groups to look for ways to make reductions permanent to have a long-term cost savings, she said.

“That’s going to be a tough bargain, but we have to get there,” Lowry said.

City leaders will have to give careful consideration to the city’s four-day work week “and what does it do for service levels,” Lowry said.

The city will be dealing with a number of matters that will have an effect on its long-term financial picture, Lowry said.

That includes the possibility of outsourcing some duties currently handled by city employees and coming up with a strategy to build up city reserves, she said.

City leaders are expecting to complete the updating of the city’s general plan by midyear and then start working on plans to address economic development opportunities for the city’s major corridors.

Pomona Unified School District also faces a series of decisions involving its finances.

Budget-related issues will be the subject of much attention for the next two to three years, PUSD Superintendent Richard Martinez said.

Negotiations with employee groups will be an important component of what lies ahead for the district.

The district estimates it will have to cut between $19million and $25million of its current $245million budget, Martinez said.

“At this point, we’re anticipating the larger number” will be the figure the district must work toward cutting, he said.

Pomona Unified administrators expect to get a clearer picture of what they will need to cut by the second week of January.

Early in 2011, the district will establish a committee to review district property. The committee will make specific recommendations to the district’s board of education on what to do with the property.

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