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Manteca council may form budget advisory group
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A 15-member budget advisory committee is being formed by the Manteca City Council to provide counsel on how best to deal with the looming $11.3 million municipal deficit.

Elected municipal leaders are expected to form the committee during tonight’s 7 p.m. City Council meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St. Each council member will appoint three citizens to the committee.

The group would meet with staff at least three times to review the city’s budget. They will also provide input on proposed budget cuts, service levels, and possible “revenue enhancements.” The idea is to collect more possible budget solutions plus obtain a public perspective on potential changes in the level of service.

The committee would have a fairly tight meting schedule as input is desired by March to allow staff to consolidated their findings into 2009-10 budget discussions scheduled for May.

The council will also take another step aimed at reducing general fund expenses.

They are being asked to hire two more solid waste collection workers. The solid waste account – which is not facing a deficit as it is covered by users fees and not general fund revenues — has 26 workers currently.

The current and projected workload has made it difficult to maintain needed manpower each day while still accommodating vacation and sick leave.

The two new positions will help reduce overtime and will cost $168,761 a year. The cost for the balance of this fiscal year that runs through June 30 is $70,318. There are adequate funds to accommodate that in the current solid waste budget.

The staff is anticipating existing workers in other municipal departments, which would reduce pressure on the general fund will fill the two positions.