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Ripon drops 21 city employees during past 5 years

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POSTED June 28, 2013 1:32 a.m.

Since 2009, the City of Ripon has seen a reduction of employees, going from 96 down to 75.

This area also comes as the biggest savings under the proposed 2013-14 city budget, according to Deputy City Administrator Kevin Werner.

Elected leaders are scheduled to OK the financial plan for the upcoming year at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. open session in the Council Chambers, 259 N. Wilma Ave.

Employee salaries and benefits make up most of the city’s $9 million in the general fund. Werner added that a public works person will soon be hired to help maintain the Mistlin Sports Complex once the softball fields are completed.

The 2013-14 budget as presented at the recent public hearing also included $1.3 million in streets, $4.2 million in water, $1.7 million in garbage, $1.4 million in sewer district, $1.9 million in redevelopment, $314,671 in special districts and $930,192 in capital.

Some of the listed capital items will be paid with the surplus from the city’s 2012-13 budget, which, Werner said, is about $270,000. Such items include one outfitted police vehicle, one radio repeater, playground equipment for DeJong Park, resurfacing tennis courts, and one new lawnmower.

 One concern with the new budget is the increased cost of the PERS retirement system. Werner indicated added 13 percent in health care costs was due to the Affordable Care Act.

This is the comprehensive health reform signed March 2010 by President Obama. The law was designed to make preventive care more accessible and affordable for man y Americans, with some of it to be enacted later this year.

“How the Affordable Care Act will affect us are unclear,” Werner said. “Everyone is in a wait-and-see mode.”

Insurance coverage varies among city employees.

“Differences are related to salaries, and some employees are on Blue Shield and some are on Kaiser,” said Werner, who indicated that meetings with the health insurance representatives are planned for later this summer.

“PERS and health care are the two costs going up,” Councilman Jake Parks said. “Just so the public knows (Planning Director Ken) Zuidervaart, Werner, and (Mayor Dean) Uecker are working hard on an economic development plan to bring in more revenue.”

For more information, call Ripon City Hall at 209-599-2108 or log on to www.cityofripon.org.

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