City Implements $8.8 Million Spending Reduction Plan; Avoids Layoff of Permanent Staff

The City of Fresno today announced that it will reduce general fund spending by $8.8 million through the remainder of this fiscal year to meet economic challenges resulting from the battered economy. The action is the result of an intensive budget review process aimed at helping prepare the City for worsening conditions in the 2009-2010 budget year, which begins July 1.

Among other steps, the City anticipates the release of up to 50 temporary personnel, City Manager Andy Souza reported today in an update to the City Council. No permanent employees will be laid off as a result of these cost-saving moves, Souza said.

Souza said Fresno will finish the current fiscal year with a balanced budget, based on current projections. However, the City is facing a deficit of more than $4 million in the 2009-2010 budget, even with the reductions announced today.

“Our plan proactively addresses the fiscal challenges that we are facing over the next 17 months,” Souza said. “We’ve had to make some very tough decisions, and it’s particularly difficult knowing that people are affected. But the steps we are taking now are necessary to allow us to more effectively tackle the budget gap that confronts us in the next fiscal year. The bottom line is that despite these unprecedented economic conditions, we are meeting these challenges with limited impacts on critical services.”

Last month, Mayor Ashley Swearengin called for the City’s general fund departments to develop contingency plans and to find additional ways for city government to operate more efficiently. Recommendations were submitted by departments and reviewed by the Mayor’s office, City Manager’s office and budget staff, resulting in $8,824,600 in savings for the current fiscal year.

The announced personnel reductions include the release of temporary staff in the PARCS (Parks, After School, Recreation & Community Services) Department, along with temporary, non-sworn positions in the Police Department. Sworn personnel are not impacted. The City will provide job placement assistance, as appropriate, to the affected workers.

Dozens of other cost-saving steps are being implemented as well including:

  • Tighten operational budget expenditures
  • Discontinuation of take home vehicle programs
  • Overtime reductions
  • Temporary hiring freeze of non-critical personnel
  • Restructuring of Mayor’s Gang Prevention Initiative
  • Reallocation of unexpended funds from various programs
  • Aligning community pool schedule with Fresno Unified School District school calendar
  • Restructuring of Mayor’s Job’s Initiative program
  • Restructuring of FUN Day Camp program
  • Defer opening of new fire station
  • Extend Street Tree Maintenance from 12- to 14-year cycle (no impact on emergency repairs)

Contact: Michael Lukens – Press Secretary 559-647-7795