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Budget gap at $1.2M for Ripon
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RIPON — While the latest revenue figures on the income side of the ledger for the City of Ripon were up slightly, the expenses had also increased over recent months.

Golden handshakes and other staff layoffs accounted for an expenditure of $151,943.

Ripon City Administrator Leon Compton told council members Tuesday that the actual deficit for the current period is $1,234,794.  The shortfall for the month of February alone – less the layoffs adjustment figure – and compared to February 2009 was a minus $132,929.  February is the latest month where accounting numbers are available.

The council had been in closed-door sessions with negotiators for the police employees union, the non-represented employees and public works employees prior to the meeting hoping to reach agreements that would give a green light to cuts in benefits and bring salary adjustments to help meet the deficit in the budget.

The sessions were continued due to a lack of time for the negotiations and will be resumed within the next week.

City Attorney Tom Terpstra and Mayor Chuck Winn echoed each other’s sentiments that there hopefully will be a favorable outcome in the meetings with the employees with reports available by the first council meeting in May.
Revenue for the city during the fiscal year that started in July had dipped to $250,052 in the month of August due mostly to the down economy.

In other business, city planning director Ken Zuidervaart told the council that 150 letters had been mailed out to residents notifying them of the need to abate weeds on their property.  They were given 30 days to correct the problem before it becomes a fire hazard in the community.

It was also noted that the community yard sale is set to be held April 24 with applications available at city hall and on the Internet. Also, the city’s spring cleanup is scheduled for the first two weeks in May.

Jennifer Busalacchi of the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County was on hand to receive a proclamation from Mayor Chuck naming April Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  

Councilman Garry Krebbs noted that he had met with the committee studying the big box ordinance and hoped to have recommendations for the council by the first meeting in May.