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As gas prices drop so does Ripon fortunes
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Ripon was flying high financially when gas was pushing $5 a gallon.
Now with gas prices a lot closer to the $2-a-gallon mark the extra money that some motorists are saving may end up costing City of Ripon employees dearly.
Because Ripon gets 70 percent of all its sales tax from the Jack Tone interchange area – the construction of which was independently funded by the city to promote developing that region into a transportation service corridor – the city has watched their incoming revenue shrink drastically to the point that the community that prided itself at staying in better financial shape than other communities around them is just as cash-strapped as all the rest.
And that could end up meaning mandatory work furloughs for city employees – a move that could help the city’s top brass chip away $500,000 from the current $950,000 deficit that continues to grow every month.
When the Ripon City Council meets tonight, a portion of the meeting will be dedicated to the current status of the city’s finances – something that City Administrator Leon Compton has been doing ever since it was evident that Ripon would be in the red for the first time in years.
The combination of the current status of the markets and the swirling California budget shortfall is also a major factor in the current situation.
During their last meeting, the council voted 4-1 to approve a budget review committee that will take a closer look at the city’s finances to help gauge what the best course of action will be to right the ship while saving as much of the existing city infrastructure as possible.
Public Works Director Ted Johnston is currently facing the possibility that all of his hourly employees will be laid off.
To date, the police department has already terminated 10 part-time animal shelter positions and five part-time PAL positions while the city has cut the community fireworks on Independence Day and their contribution to the National Night Out celebration.
It has not yet been decided which personnel direction that the council will go – whether they’ll offer mandatory or voluntary furloughs, and whether the suggested moves like freezing sick leave buyout, eliminating holiday buyouts for non-essential police personnel, and freezing college tuition grants for full-time employees will be included in the move to close the gap.
All of the items would require approval of collective bargaining units and union representatives before they could be implemented.
Tonight’s meeting will be held at Ripon City Hall – located at 259 N. Wilma Avenue with access from Main Street or the Wilma Avenue overcrossing which wraps around to Milgeo Road. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., with a 5:30 workshop on the wastewater treatment plan being held in the conference room at City Hall. To obtain a copy of the agenda, visit the city’s website at