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Staffing moves may save city nearly $1.2M
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Steps were taken by the Manteca City Council Tuesday night to whittle down the cost of running the city by as much as $1.2 million a year.

The measures impacting general fund expenses include:

• providing an enticement for eight employees to take early retirement to save up to $892,068.

• reclassifying an existing redevelopment specialist as a permit technician to save $200,000 in annual costs by eliminating two contract positions. The new position will be funded 100 percent with RDA funds and will cost $20,000 less than the redevelopment specialist positions it is replacing.

• creating an accounting analyst position in the finance department while eliminating nearly three positions including the utilities supervisors and purchasing analyst jobs to save $100,000.

The savings could push $2 million if another six to eight employees take advantage of a one-time offer to give two years credit toward retirement in exchange for retiring early.

The city is looking at ways of consolidating jobs and shuffling workload so that the positions being vacated won’t be replaced. Even if there were some jobs that couldn’t be shifted to others in the work force, the replacement worker would end up costing tens of thousands of dollars less.

There was also another council action Tuesday that could save the general fund money around $150,000.

They gave approval to hiring two more sold waste workers to run garbage collection routes to reduce overtime and keep service at its current level. The solid waste account is not a general fund operation but instead is an enterprise fund that relies on users fees.

The city hopes to replace those two workers with existing municipal employees who are in other departments.

Even if Tuesday’s actions don’t ultimately hit $2.1 million, they will go a long way to putting a solid down payment on efforts to trim $11.3 million from the municipal budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The $11.3 million deficit is projected based on revenue trends and spending trends that were taking place through December not changing. The city has already taken some steps to reduce spending. Other drops in expenses — such as gas prices — are also helping ease the projected deficit a bit. At any rate, the $11.3 million deficit won’t miraculously appear on July 1 but instead will start accumulating at that point.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton has indicated that cuts in place and those being mulled could bridge about half of that projected deficit.