Falling revenues force city cuts
Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 06/06/2010 07:03:29 AM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – City Hall employees will take a week of unpaid vacation this year as the city enters its third straight fiscal year of revenue decline.

The planned furlough – to effect about 350 full-time employees – along with attrition and a dip into the reserves, will help the city meet its fiscal challenges without affecting services to residents, Jack Lam told the City Council at a budget workshop last week.

On Thursday, the city is expected to pass a $91,807,410 budget – which includes library and fire district funds – representing a drop of almost 4 percent from last year.

“We are strained but we still have services in tact,” Lam said.

But dark clouds loom for this and many other Californian cities. Despite some experts’ predictions of an economic rebound, several factors could spell deeper cuts and personnel layoffs in the city’s future.

As the state wrestles with its monstrous budget deficit, the city is uncertain if local coffers will be raided once again.

Last month, the Redevelopment Agency lost more than $32 million to Sacramento’s budget problems, postponing future phases of Central Park development and the planned Arrow/15 Freeway interchange project indefinitely.

The city is also awaiting news of labor negotiations between San Bernardino County and the sheriff’s union. A labor union vote on June 14 could determine whether the city will have to pay an added $1.5 million for sheriff’s salaries.

Since the 2007-08 fiscal year, sales and property taxes, development and licensing fees, and other revenue sources have been in decline.

“This takes us back to 2005,” Lam said. “We have lost five years of revenue.”

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