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Manteca must cut $3.8 million from upcoming 2010-11 budget
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Manteca needs to trim $3.8 million from the upcoming municipal budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton indicated various strategies are being explored that may allow the city to skirt by next fiscal year with no additional staff reductions- except through attrition – by employing various one-time moves and  making “short-term sacrifices” by deferring some expenditures.

The budget prognosis for the 2010-11 fiscal year came during a council workshop conducted Monday at the Manteca Golf Course. Manteca managed to balance its budget for the current year by bridging an $11.8 million deficit.

The $3.8 million deficit assumes that property tax and sales tax stay flat.

There are some encouraging signs.

•Finance Director Suzanne Mallory noted sales tax going into the all important fourth quarter was running 2 percent above projections.
•The construction of 304 new homes in 2009 may offset any additional slides in property taxes from foreclosure pricing of distressed properties.
•Implementing all possible cost recovery fees for police, fire, and parks plus some in public works could generate $800,000 in the 2010-11 fiscal years.

Those three items – if things go well – could cover almost $1 million of the $3.8 million deficit.

Pinkerton noted the compensation concessions made in September by city employee groups for 2010 and 2011 was done with the intent of building a base for the upcoming 2010-11 fiscal year. That means, if all goes according to plan, Manteca may be able to avoid layoffs.

However, Pinkerton cautions that the state could severely undermine the balancing act by raiding local revenue to try and once again cover a massive state budget deficit. The projection is for a $20 billion state deficit over the next 18 months.

“The harsh reality is that we’ll never going to have the money to go back to the way things were working before,” Pinkerton said, adding the goal is to restructure government so it can do more with less.

Pinkerton said he believes Manteca – through the coordinated effort of staff and the council – is a step or so ahead of other communities in dealing with the realities of shrinking revenue.

“We’re on our way to the next step,” he said of the city exploring new ways of delivering services to residents.

The deficit for 2010-11 with retirements that are coming up would be $5 million. Sixteen more retirements are expected in the next fiscal year including two in the sewer and solid waste enterprise funds that are separate from the general fund. Altogether they will reduce municipal payroll by $1.35 million. That means by June 30, 2011, the city will have 80 less positions than they did three years ago through the process of retirement, eliminating positions or freezing them.

Manteca at its high point had about 420 municipal workers.