Mayor Swearengin Presents FY 2014 Budget Calling for Maintaining Current Service and Staffing Levels, Assumes Measure G Passes
– Mayor Ashley Swearengin today presented a proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget that calls for maintaining current service and staffing levels along with reductions in personnel expenses among employees with open labor contracts.
“This proposal offers a prudent balance between continued reductions in expenditures and modest revenue growth,” Mayor Swearengin said. “Assuming all elements of the proposed budget are implemented, Fiscal Year 2014 will be a turning point toward fiscal sustainability for the City of Fresno.”
The FY 2014 budget assumes revenue from the proposed residential solid waste franchise and also assumes savings in personnel expenses among employees with open labor contracts. Revenue from the residential solid waste franchise and modest savings from employees will net $6 million in FY 2014 and allow the City to balance its budget without further cuts to public safety and any further layoffs of employees.
Mayor Swearengin said if the budget shortfall is not closed in FY 2014, the City’s operating deficit will grow to at least $9.7 million and as much as $32.3 million over the next five years.
In addition to maintaining current service and staffing levels in public safety and across the organization, some of the highlights of the Administration’s proposal include:
- Beginning to repay internal loans, which is required for maintaining solvency. All remaining deficit funds will be paid off within the next five years; Overdue replacement of police vehicles and fire equipment and apparatus are funded at $2 million;
- All fire stations and parks remain open;
- Federal housing grant funds of $1 million will be leveraged with private donations and other agency funding to provide permanent housing and service solutions for up to 100 homeless individuals or families;
- $1 million is dedicated for streetlight repairs;
- Debt service is fully funded for all General Fund and Enterprise funds; and
- Litter control and graffiti abatement continue to be funded at existing levels.
Mayor Swearengin said the City has worked aggressively to address its structural imbalance over the last four years. The City has reduced its workforce by 1,200 employees, including dramatic reductions in public safety staffing levels. The City now employs 717 police officers, compared to 849 officers in 2010, and Fire Department staffing levels have decreased to 67 firefighters per shift, which represents 1955 staffing levels.
In addition, the City has reduced and eliminated maintenance and replacement of equipment; and increased its reliance on volunteers for parks maintenance, the operation of community centers, and for various functions within the Police Department.
Mayor Swearengin also said the FY 2014 budget is consistent with the five-year budget plan presented by City Manager Mark Scott to City Council in February. The Administration’s five-year budget plan accomplishes the following:
- Prevents further reductions in the number of police officers and firefighters in the City;
- Allows the City to begin hiring police officers and firefighters back within the next two years;
- Prevents any further reductions in service levels;
- Prevents any further personnel reductions;
- Pays off all remaining internal debts that are required to be paid back to maintain the City’s solvency; and
- At the end of five years, begins to replenish the City’s emergency reserves.
“This budget represents the first year of the Administration’s five-year plan to restore the financial health of the City,” Mayor Swearengin said. “The five-year plan is prudent, achievable, and necessary to maintaining the City’s solvency. It must be implemented.”
The proposed budget is available on the City’s website at www.fresno.gov/budget.