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Its either cut compensation or city workers
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Want streets patrolled?

It takes manpower.

Want emergency medical and fire protection service?

It takes manpower.

Want streets and parks maintained?

It takes manpower.

Manteca’s general fund has 85 percent of its expenses tied up in labor costs which include salary, health benefits, and retirement.

Each employee is roughly a $100,000 expense. That includes required federal and state payroll taxes, salary, retirement, and health benefits. The $100,000 figure is an average. Police and firefighters, for example, can cost a lot more even though they may make the same as a non-public safety employee because they can retire sooner than other workers due to the stress level of their jobs.

It also costs the city more in worker’s compensation for public safety workers as they are more susceptible to injuries due to their line of work.
Their retirement costs are almost double coming in at 33 cents for every $1 paid.

The Public Employment Retirement Systems contributions were virtually nil earlier this decade as the fund was riding the stock market. When dividends dropped, it required an increase in contribution by municipal employers.

The city, like everyone else, is facing rising health benefit costs. They also negotiated raises in multiple year contracts that run through 2012.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton on Thursday told the council-appointed citizens budget advisory committee that between $2 million and $4 million of the projected deficit of $11.3 million expected to materialize in the fiscal year starting July 1 is still not covered with cuts or revenue strategies.

There is only one way the city can cover that gap – reducing personnel costs.

It can be done three different ways – layoffs, additional across-the-board non-paid furloughs, or reopening contracts to either reduce compensation, suspend retirement contributions by the city for a year or so, or reduce what health benefits the city may cover such as for dependents.

The city has 310 authorized positions in this year’s general fund budget. Twenty-two of them are being left vacant and unfilled. That figure does not include sewer, water, solid waste or golf course maintenance workers who are paid from enterprise accounts. Those accounts are covered by users fees and are not in a deficit situation.

If the City Council is forced to go the lay-off route it could cost at least 22 workers their jobs. The departments that would take the biggest hits are fire and parks. The police can’t drop below 2006-07 funding levels due to voter-approve language in the public safety half cent sales tax. There are 14 vacant positions in the police department that are not being filled.