Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/02/2011 04:35:54 PM PST

REDLANDS – The City Council will meet Tuesday to take another look at possible ways to fill the $1.3million deficit remaining in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The new council first looked at the shortfall at a special meeting Dec. 14 and took a second look on Dec. 21. The council took no action to fill the gap but asked City Manager N. Enrique Martinez to provide additional details on potential budget reductions they might make this month or next.

“It would be helpful to have a little bit more background in the staff report about if we are going to make cuts to supplies and services, and/or to positions so we have an opportunity to understand what the implications of those may be,” said Councilman Jon Harrison.

At their last meeting, council members directed staff to look for possible reductions and savings in their departments to fill a shortfall of $877,366 in this fiscal year. This assumes the city will be able to fill the remaining gap with $462,500 from an expected $704,000 in additional property tax pass-through revenues from the Inland Valley Development Authority based on the value of the Mountain View Power Plant, said city Finance Director and Treasurer Tina Kundig.

Though city officials expect more than $700,000 in IVDA pass-through funds, until they are sure of the final amount, council members are only budgeting $462,500 – the amount the city would have received if the November half-cent sales tax increase measure had passed.

If the city receives more than that amount, it could be used to fill the budget gap and lessen departmental cuts, Mayor Pete Aguilar noted during the council’s last meeting.

In the report to the council for Tuesday’s meeting, Martinez and staff provided a breakdown of expenditure reductions and savings and listed the impact the city might expect to feel from those reductions. Staff detailed $1.09 million in cuts, $386,471 of which come from layoffs.

The Police Department could see three community service officers cut, meaning police officers would be taking non-emergency reports, there would be less traffic control and less time time for officers to be proactive about fighting crime, the report says. The Police Department’s crime analyst position could be reduced, limiting the city’s crime pattern analysis, production of hotspot maps, statistical reporting and sketch work, the report said. There could also be cuts to undercover investigations, homicide overtime pay and supplies, it said.

The Fire Department could undergo a constant staffing reduction, cutting the staffing of Engine 263 from four to three, but the Redlands Professional Fire Fighters memorandum of understanding would have to be renegotiated for this to occur. The Fire Department may leave one emergency medical services specialist position vacant and delay the purchase of a cardiac monitor, according to the report.

To read entire story, click here.